When you have been riding for a while, the routine of getting dressed is part of the metronomic rhythm of your experience. First, the chamois, the jersey, cap, helmet, gloves, shoes…and now the neck gaitor. Our newest consideration as we don our kit to ride into the hills, onto the gravel, into our community, and out on the open road.
The Gaitor: our protective attempt against the spread of CoVid-19, which has been going on for 3 months. It has been terrifying and lonely… and also considered the uniquely momentous “Great Pause” of our lifetime. A time to reconsider our lives, families, health and livelihoods.
Some of us were asked not to leave our houses for weeks and months, others lost friends and family members. But throughout all of this uncertainty we have been given the opportunity to focus on the things that are clearly the most important in our lives. To determine the people and the things which truly are our sanity makers, the places and environments that act as our sanctuaries.
Isn’t that the way life is sometimes? You don’t know what you have until it is lost or taken from you. Enter the bicycle…
I have always found the bike to be my saving grace. It has transported me through grief and divorce, it has carried me away to the most beautiful nooks and crannies in the world, to the places that feed my soul; and it once again saves the day.
As I get dressed to head out on a ride in Boulder, I am struck by the palpable sense of community I feel to my like-minded soulmates on two wheels. The gravitational pull has never felt stronger. Whether I am riding shoulder to shoulder (6’ apart) with my best friend or heading off on a solo adventure, I feel a real sense of communion in our shared love of the bike. Even when riding alone, I feel a part of something bigger–something moving and progressing toward a greater end.
Perhaps that end is a clear head, free of the anxiety of the news, work stress, kids at home, the concerns of life. Whatever it is that drives us out on our bikes, it feels as if we are doing something tangibly helpful in healing our sense of grief for a time we may not know again anytime soon.
Right now we ride alone together: we share the road, the trail, the trainers, as one community longing to tether ourselves to something more positive, more productive and more hopeful than Quarantine Life. So to all of my wingmen and wingwomen out there I say, enjoy that beautiful breeze in your face, that washes away your fear and feel your heart pumping as you climb that hill. Things will get better. The wind will come to our backs again someday soon and until then know you are in good company.