Pelotons, Breakaways, Grupettos, Life

Stage races in cycling are simultaneously odd and beautiful.  The ebb and flow, the dynamics of the group, are something to behold.  People peel off the front, hoping to either capture their 5 minutes of fame, or establish themselves as an alpha member of the stage, expected to ride on to great things.  In the peloton, whole groups of riders can work together for the greater good.  Or, a momentary lapse of attention can take out half of the group.  On climbs, the tired, weary and injured with gather together, spontaneously helping each other regardless of team or affiliation, just hoping to survive.

However, it was on my commute this morning, as I was thinking something roughly along the lines of the words above, that I realized how great a description that is of life in general.  This is even more poignent for me right now – as I transition out of one phase of my life and look to the possibility of new adventures.  Life changing experiences have a habit of making us reflect a bit – at least they do for me.  That process seems to lend itself well to using cycling as a metaphor for life.

Some of my more dedicated readers may have noticed the several months silence here on JustAnotherCyclist, or over on  That is due almost entirely to a personal journey I’ve been on.  In that time period I’ve gone from “status quo,” through terrible times, to interesting discoveries to finally arrive today at what can only be described as happiness.  So how did I get through all that?  I just kept pedaling.

If nothing else, that was the core of what I came to understand on my commute this morning: just keep pedaling.  As I’ve gone through this transition in my life most of my riding has pretty much stopped.  Yes – I’ve become “that guy” in the local club ride.  The guy that everyone seems to know, and used to apparently be something of a “big deal” but for whatever reason hasn’t been riding in a long time and is now “getting back into it.”  Luckily in my case this period of time can be measured in months and not years.  It is true folks – I can’t actually recall the last time I was in lycra, and my legs have grown hairy.  But luckily I am in a situation where a bike is one of my primary modes of transportation, so I’ve never really been out of the saddle.  Without even realizing it I just kept pedaling.

Even when I was just out there commuting, there were moments when I was reminded of how much I really love these two wheeled contraptions.  The little rush of adrenalin you feel as you pop up out of the saddle, start thrashing the bars back and forth racing imaginary opponents to that city limits sign.  The feel of the bike beneath you as lean into a turn.  I’d feel these moments, but unfortunately I’d too quickly return to whatever was the issue of the moment.  Sit down in the saddle, adjust the straps of the backpack and just keep pedaling.

However, this particular morning I didn’t quickly return to whatever was the issue of the moment.  Instead I thought about that love – that passion.  It occurred to me that a passion for cycling is just an extension of a passion for life.  It is in the last few months that I’ve finally gotten that back.  I know I’ll be going out on some rides again in the very near future that aren’t just about getting from point A to point B.  I’ll be going out to ride because I love it – because it is my passion.  And by doing that, I will rekindle the passion in all things in my life.  My children and the people I care about and spend time with – they benefit from my cycling too, because a passion for life naturally translates into a passion for the things in your life.

We all have those moments – either on the group ride, or in life – when we have to make ourselves just keep pedaling.  Those moments ultimately make the times when we go pedaling because we love it all the more enjoyable.

Let’s go for a ride.