Back when I was a young pup—a college student to be exact—a fellow university student studying journalism interviewed me. One of the questions she asked was, “Why do you like cycling?” And because I was young, awkward (some things never change), and really never thought about it before, I gave a terrible answer. Between all the “uhms,” “hmms,” and “shucks, I don’t knows,” I think I managed to squeeze out something cheesy and cliché like, “I just like it…you know…I just like feeling the wind in my hair.” Which doesn’t make any sense because I didn’t really answer the question, and I always wore a helmet.
Maybe I should have gotten one of these:
The way I answered that question has always bothered me, and I wish I could have a do-over. I’ve had a lot of time to think about it, and the fact of the matter is, I like cycling for tons of reasons, but there are four specific things that make me love it. While other sports or hobbies may share two or three of these things, cycling is the only one that has all four.
1. Cycling is something you can do no matter what stage of life you are in.
2. Cycling comes with a large social scene, both on and off the bike.
3. Cycling has an endless amount of gear you can geek out over.
4. Cycling can keep you physically and mentally healthy.
Think about it…
Running: It’s something you can do no matter what stage of life you are in, but it has little social scene. It keeps you physically and mentally (debatable) healthy. But on the run, individuals that are at different fitness levels have a more difficult time training together than they do in cycling. When two individuals are able to run together, one or both of them are usually panting too hard to carry on a conversation. As for the gear, while some of it is pretty cool, there is no comparison to the geek factor associated with cycling.
Football: I know tons of people who participated in football when they were younger, but I don’t know a single person who continues to participate more than watching it on the weekends. Football has a huge social scene—but only from the sidelines, since very few people seem to continue it into their adult lives. Football gear/equipment seems like it could have a geek factor similar to cycling, but because no one other than pros sports it, there’s no real “geek out” for the layperson.
Soccer: It’s something you can do no matter what stage of life you are in. The social scene seems like it would be pretty good, both on and off the field. It can keep you healthy. However, it falls short in the “geek out on gear” category.
Playing an instrument: It’s something you can do your entire life. If you are even mildly decent, it has what is arguably the best social scene. There is a ton of stuff to geek out on. But while it may keep you mentally healthy, I don’t think it will improve your VO2 max.
So if I ever get the chance to have my do-over, I am prepared. I have my answer ready and waiting. I think cycling is the best sport/hobby a person can have. There are tons of reasons why I like it, but there are four reasons I love it. What are your reasons?
Use the comment section below to let us know what you like and love about cycling.
Lawrence Simonson is a graduate of Kansas State with degrees in dietetics, human nutrition, and exercise science. Check out his bio for more information.