Finding Your Bike Tribe
thanks Eva Lu for this lovely photo on flickr.
I like to ride my bike alone. It’s meditative. As my body responds to my awareness of road conditions and traffic, there’s a part of my brain that is problem-solving and ruminating in a way that doesn’t happen to me while I’m driving (except perhaps on long road trips).
While I enjoy the solitude of daily bike riding, one of the things that keeps me riding over the long term is group rides.
I did not reckon I’d be a social cyclist. But you barely even need to be social to enjoy a good group ride. In fact, you can be anti-social and still absorb the good vibes of group riding, I think.
In Portland, we’re practically defined these days by the weirdness of our bike rides – there are tall bike riders, naked bike riders, and hill-bombing Zoo bike riders. But these, it should be noted, are not the only bike tribes in the Rose City.
During Pedalpalooza, the three weeks of more than 250 biking events that happens every year in Portland, you get to see this weirdness writ large. You also get to notice how fun it is to ride some of these rides, and how great it is when you just suddenly feel part of a tribe.
Savor that moment, and then keep thinking about how to find your bike people. For these are the people that you can call when you get a flat you just can’t fix or when you’ve ridden through the worst/best bike day of your life. They are the ones who show up to ride on the same type of rides you show up to ride on.
They are also the ones who will keep you riding if bad weather/bad things happen, and according to studies, they’ll provide the motivation you need to supersede any old limits (exercise or otherwise) you may have put on yourself.
Who knows exactly how you’ll find your tribe – you could just go on a lot of rides until something clicks, you could set up your own Meetup group, you could ask at your favorite bike shop.
But don’t wait. Find your tribe.