John F. Kennedy, the 35th U.S. President once said, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.” And honestly, I can’t think of anything that frees the mind better than a spin on a country road while pedaling a bicycle.
It’s worth remembering in times like this how good the wind can feel in your face, with the world speeding beneath your wheels. Smooth pavement makes it better. Coasting down hills make it great. And no matter what the terrain, friends make it superb. But all you really need is properly inflated tires, a lubricated chain and a nice range of gears.
In 1994 my wife saw an article about Cycle Oregon in the local newspaper and encouraged me to take on this 475 mile ride in rural Oregon. I wasn’t sure if my body could tolerate riding nearly 70 miles a day for 7 days, but I sent a check with my completed registration. When I arrived in Eugene, Oregon for the start there were 2000 cyclists from all over the globe. We camped out in small towns. One night our 2000 cyclists outnumbered the residents in the entire county. One hot afternoon 5 of us stopped in the shade of an oak tree and saw a farmer who was getting ready to harvest his wheat field. He started up a conversation with us and we asked if there were any swimming holes nearby. He pointed towards a side road and said “about 5 miles in that direction is a beauty…best one in the county”. It sounded perfect, but the extra 10 miles added to our daily ride made it a difficult decision and the farmer sensed it. He then said, “You see that red pick-up over there? The keys are in it; just return it by 6 PM so I can go home for dinner”. Other than my wife, 3 kids and impending college tuition, I think about cycling trips more than anything else. That is the difference between making memories and making money. No matter how hard you work to earn either, only memories consistently pay you back over the long haul. That’s why, no matter what happens with the economy, I’m cycling as much as I can this year. Because the dividends are guaranteed, and the rate of return is unbelievable. I’ll see you out there.
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