I ride my bicycle instead of driving a car whenever I can. I used it for commuting and now I ride it for any errands that my backpack can accommodate. Cycling gives me pleasure on many levels.
For a period of time, when riding my bicycle I was focused on speed. At first the reason was because I wanted to board the earliest commuter bus I could catch. I typically left the house with barely enough time to catch the next bus if I could ride the 3.5 uphill miles in 15 minutes. Later my goal was to ride all the way home from the office in under an hour or to summit a particular hill without going below 15 miles per hour.
Lately I have more disposable time in my schedule and I don't usually care as much about speed. I'm more interested in enjoying the journey: smelling the blossoms, listening to the birds and basking in the seasonal displays. However, there is one condition that makes it fun for me to go for speed again. That is when there is a cyclist in front of me who is keeping a good pace.
What often happens is that while I am lolling along on my bike lost in thought, a lycra bikah zips past me. Immediately I accelerate to see if I can keep up with the passing cyclist. Part of the fun is to play mind games on the speedy biker when he (or she) turns around expecting to see me in the distance and there I am right behind. I like to think he assumes I am practicing drafting and I hope he isn't annoyed by any perceived drag.
More than once I have been flattered to be told by a passing cyclist, "You ride well," or words to that effect. (This is good because it is a skill I have been practicing for 93% of the years of my life, time and inclination permitting) I find this especially meaningful because usually the person speaking is riding a skinny tire road bike while my hybrid bicycle has wider tires. Presumably I have to exert more force to get the same velocity.
On one occasion I was riding up a steep hill on the way to meet somebody. I didn't want to be overheated when I got there, so I was more or less taking it easy up the hill. Part way up a man passed me on his bike and said he had been chasing me all the way. I commented, "It's warmer today than I expected." I was being nice. My daughter has agreed that it might have been insulting to say, "I'm trying not to work up a sweat."
Posted by Lucy 10/30/2009, revised 09/24/2010 by Lucy