I think it's safe to say that spring is finally here. At least the ten-day forecast finally looks promising.
With apologies to my friends in Minnesota who have suffered through yet another April snow storm, it's past time for all of us to stop fretting about unseasonably cold temperatures and start planning our cycling adventures. As of today, I am officially over our slow starting spring.
Despite the schizophrenic weather, I've managed to squeak in a few memory-worthy rides in the past thirty days. I've explored trails around St. Louis, investigated a French Island, tackled urban single track, and rehearsed for a rail trail excursion (images appear on my Facebook page). None of these early spring rides were of the epic, all-day, century-length variety, but each contained essential elements of a genuine adventure.
I'd like to thank the community at 30 Days of Biking for pushing me forward on days when I would have preferred to stay nestled under the covers. Waking up with a purpose - a determination to get out there and just pedal somewhere - helped rekindle my desire to continually seek out new adventures - big or small.
Defining a two-wheeled adventure, after all, is just a matter of perspective.
There are some that consider any opportunity to carve an hour or two out of a busy schedule an adventure in and of itself. It's a conscious decision to step away from the ordinary, the expected, the comfortable, the known, and just let life come to you - if only for a brief moment. Anything that's not part of the daily grind offers the potential for much-welcomed stimulation. Whether that stimulation is feeling a gentle breeze blow across the skin, inhaling the fresh outside air, or feeling the heart race as oxygenated blood pulses to every cell - it's an experience that isn't felt throughout the course of a typical day. Rides like these re-energize the body and open the mind to new experiences.
There are others that set the bar for adventure just a little bit higher. Maybe they can't "boldly go where no man has gone before", but they can experience a change of scenery. Embark on a journey through parts unreachable by car. See familiar sights at a speed that allows for closer inspection and encourages deeper appreciation. Contemplate the natural world up close. Retrace the steps of history. Experience a new place.
Some will define an adventure ride as a challenge - an invitation to push one's self to the outer limits and test one's mettle. Set a new record for distance traveled. Tackle unforgiving terrain that taxes bike handling skills. Endure physical challenges that drain every last drop of energy. Take the meaning of self-sufficiency to a whole new personal high.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention all the individuals who have chosen to use their bikes for everyday transportation. For these brave souls who must entrust their personal safety to their fellow man, every ride is an adventure. Dodging potholes. Avoiding opening car doors. Fighting for lane positioning. Getting noticed just in a nick of time. Constantly moving forward while overcoming obstacles thrown in their path without warning. There is as much adrenaline flowing through this crowd as there is during a sprint to the finish at the Tour de France.
Yes, every ride is an adventure.
The sun will shine. The air will warm. The clock is ticking. Are you ready to embark on your next adventure?
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Keep riding and be safe!