I never had a need for speed when cycling as if I were in the middle of a peleton on the final leg of the Tour de France while wearing the yellow jersey. I ride for exercise, enjoyment of the surrounding scenery, and to have time to clear my head. The only sounds I want to hear are the wind blowing past my ears and the sound of my tires meeting the pavement.
I became a serious rider when my job took me to the New River Gorge area near Lansing, West Virginia. Riding in this mountainous area, at least in my mind, required that I have a mountain bike, although I did not do much off-road cyling. I bought a 21-speed Specialized Hard Rock mountain bike and it served me well for many years and several thousand miles.
Later my work took me to Charleston, West Virginia, and along with a co-worker who was an avid rider, I began riding around Charleston after work and on weekends. We would ride anywhere from 15 to 25 miles each time we went out. By the way, Charleston is a great place to ride and is becoming more bike friendly. After riding for several months my co-worker challenged me to ride my age, in miles, during the week of my birthday which was something he had been doing for years. I had never done any long distance cycling but accepted the challenge and rode 55 miles in about 4 hours. I kept this challenge the following year after moving to South Carolina and rode my age on that birthday. While I still ride hundreds of miles a year I have not kept up that challenge. But as I will describe in a later blog I came up with another way to challenge myself and move outside my cycling comfort zone.