I was flying down East Main St. on my 1994 custom Marin Fire-Trail. My playlist was thumping in my head and I had hit the rhythm of the song, pushing my feet to play like percussion instruments. I had taken the sidewalk, and a car in oncoming traffic was waiting for me to cross the dip in the sidewalk so they could turn into a parking lot. There was another car sitting there too, waiting to turn out into the street and blend into the traffic. They didn't look both ways, and as soon as I rode in front of them, the hit the gas.
I gashed my left calf on the front license plate and got thrown into the pavement of the sidewalk. My bike slid alongside me, and while it did I kicked the teeth of the gear with the back of my right calf, leaving deep cuts where they had punctured my skin. I peeled most of the skin off of my hands, which had become red and raw, and the car had knocked the chain loose on my bike. I turned around to face the driver, and they put their hand over their face so I couldn't identify them. They then proceeded to blend into the traffic very quickly and take the next turn, leaving me unable to even catch their license plate. It was simple; a classic case of hit-and-run. After fixing my bike, cleaning my wounds, and talking to the other folks who were waiting on me, I remounted my bike and went on my merry way. It was then that I realized something:
I'm addicted to this ride.
I've been cycling for the last six months or so and it has done more for me than I can say. It's kept me in peak physical shape, working both my legs and lungs. It's mentally stimulating in the sense that you always have to be alert, or simple accidents like the one I had could turn into something a lot more serious. Had I not been ready to take the impact, I could've been launched into the street and died at the mercy of the oncoming cars, easily doing fifty miles per hour.
And yet, I still ride.
Biking taught me that I'm an adrenaline junkie. I'll wake up most mornings and want nothing more than to take the hills on two wheels. I love the thrill of the wind tearing at you hard enough to make your eyes water and actually having to work for your speed. The music is also a huge part of it; finding the right playlist can almost be the life or death of your ride. Regardless, the rush of feeling yourself fly on the two wheels of a bike is definitely thrilling and probably psychologically addictive. The benefits of the exercise are all there too, so there's really no downside.
If you're looking for something during this new year that's enjoyable and still physically challenging, try cycling. You'll build muscle fast depending on your commitment to riding, speed, and resistance, and you'll be in excellent cardiovascular shape. The advantages are all there, but some folks say that biking isn't as good as weightlifting or running, or other recreational sports. Some say that biking is only for the really old and really young. Some say that biking looks stupid, and they couldn't stand doing it at all.
But hey, lots of people have been wrong before, right?