A Rider’s Bucket List
Ten—OK, make that 19—things every cyclist should do
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Snow is bucketing from the slate-gray sky in Santa Fe today, and I was glad to find this video to fortify my evening workout—relocated indoors due to the grim weather. It’s amazing how a bit of beautiful footage of riding in glorious weather can motivate you.
It got me thinking, too, about all the riding I did last year and the riding I hope to do in 2014. For some of us, it’s that time of year: when training plans start back up, some good hard efforts start to rouse the body out of its rest state, and goals and racing plans begin to crystalize for the coming season.
But this video was also a pleasant reminder that it’s not just about racing. (I know, “Duh!” But it’s easy to get caught up.) One of my fondest memories of 2013 was a bikepacking exploration that my wife and I did in March around Las Cruces, New Mexico, and El Paso, Texas. We set out with enough food for a couple of days, linked a couple trails we knew with lots of desert singletrack we didn’t, braved some cold nights under the stars, did a bunch of hike-a-bike in deep sand, got lost on some backcountry trails and buzzed by an immigration helicopter, and took so much longer than we’d planned that we both missed a day of work. It was riding at its best: exploratory, impromptu, self-supported, out in the elements.
With that in mind, as well as the video footage still on repeat on my screen, I humbly submit a few more Things Every Cyclist Should Do:
11. Build a trail. Or at the very least, adopt one and help maintain it.
12. Introduce a friend to cycling. You know how happy it makes you.
13. Poach an illegal trail. But only if you don’t get caught.
14. Learn to wheelie. I was going to say track stand or bunny hop, but there’s something elegant about a wheelie. Manuals are even better.
15. Ride so hard that you crash. But don’t crash so hard that you can’t ride anymore.
16. Get girled. There are lots of fast, badass women riders out there—find them and learn.
17. Skip work to ride. Biking is somehow even better when you know others are stuck behind a desk.
18. Get lost. Enough said.
The snow is chiseling at my window, and mostly everyone I know is headed up the hill to ski. Maybe I’ll go tomorrow. But today I’m riding. Five inches of fresh in town is the perfect excuse to take the Borealis Yampa out on its maiden test ride.
Perhaps that should be 19: Skip a workout and ride for fun.