A Gravel Ride & Some Thoughts

Friday morning was spent at the vet getting Lola her shots, and her nails clipped. After dropping her off at home, I headed to the shop for a few hours to check some stock in, and then to get groceries and supplies for an evening of summer slack.

I found myself up reasonably early on Saturday morning, so after some toast and coffee, I stuffed various hunks of blubber and unsightly manly bits into some too-tight kit and headed out for a quick 20 mile Better Than The Trainer Ride™.

The dirt road ride was mostly north/south and saved me any prolonged battles with the westerly wind. The temps were warm, but the sun was hidden for most of the ride, and that prevented me from once again becoming a lycra-clad luau pig like last Saturday. That’s not sweat! It’s pork grease!! GOOD GOD, MAN!!

I hadn’t planned on riding at all, but a sudden burst of morning energy combined with the knowledge that it was the third anniversary of my friend Mike’s death made being outside on my bike the best choice for my mental state.

I rode, I remembered, I smiled, I sweat all over myself, and thought of how Mike’s death has affected me over the past three years.

Losing a great friend to a drunk driver while he was riding his bike less than a mile from my front door took its toll on my ongoing battles with depression, how I think of living in Michiganderburgh, and my love of riding bikes.

I went through some rapid emotions in regards to riding: Fuck riding bikes! But I love riding bikes, FUCK CARS! I hate riding my bike because of cars, fuck you, fuck everyone! Etc., etc., and back again.

I spent a lot of time forcing myself to ride my bike; then I went through a long phase of hardly riding at all. After many starts and stops, and do-overs, I finally found a very nonnnnnn-competitive, “me time” happy place riding my bike exclusively on dirt and gravel roads and now, finally returning to singletrack.

Mike’s death was not the sole reason for my cycling issues, but it was a major player. And the irony of that is that if the tables were turned and it had been me who had been killed, Mike would mourn for a bit, and then go for a bike ride. Possibly at the same time. He would have delved even further into his passions, not pushed them away in some fucked up way to express grief, and admit to fears.

In any event, I still miss that crabby dude and think about him every day as I unavoidably drive by the accident site. I was lucky to have had him as a friend for seven years of my life, and these days I do my best to focus on that time, not the accident itself.

I’m also happy that despite my abdominal girth, and my past sadness/anger/resentfulness issues, I have found ways to rediscover my love of riding my bike. It might not be pretty, but I’m on my bike, and sometimes that’s enough.


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