I can’t say why, exactly, I ride my bicycle.
The word joy comes to mind, cliche as it is.
There is joy in my connection with the machine: its simplicity of motion. My feet grip and push the pedals. The tires grip and push me forward. It moves because I do.
My bicycle (a gunmetal framed Freeman Gravel Racer with a single speed coaster break) is my most prized possession and the best money I have ever spent. I say that in all seriousness and with full consideration.
I share this because May is National Bike Month, a time to celebrate “the unique power of the bicycle.” Review a full list of local bike-month activities, including the Million Mile Challenge, at I Bike Fresno’s website ( www.ibikefresno.org). In honor of the month, I reached out to other local bike enthusiasts to find out what (and why) they ride.
, the guy behind I Bike Fresno, rides a Brompton.
“It is a bike that folds up into a little square,” he says. “I ride for lots of reasons. Mostly because it makes me feel great. I love being outside. I know the temperature of the day. It wakes me up in the morning and it decompresses me after work. ... But really, it’s just fun.”
has two bikes: a black 2003 Cannondale R600 road bike and a green 2008 Novara Fusion commuter bike with fenders — for rainy days such as the recent Fresno County Bicycle Coalition’s Earth Day ride.
“I ride for many reasons. Besides being a great cardio workout that’s easy on the joints, it’s a fun way to meet lots of great people.”
• Sunnyside Bicycles ownerVanessa McCracken
gets joy from any bike she rides. She is happiest on her road bike.
“I feel the strongest and most empowered on my road bike, for sure,” she says.
“I ride to feel. ... I also ride to stay sane. A little bike ride does wonders to relieve stress and improve my mood (my husband and employees have been known to kindly and gently encourage me to go for a bike ride now and then).”
, a Fresno County Bicycle Coalition volunteer and instructor with the League of American Cyclists, rides a Surly Cross-Check in Hospital Foam Green. He built it from the frame up. The one-of-a kind bike has Nitto Albatross bars, a Brooks B66S saddle and a Wald basket in the front. It has lights because Smith rides at all times of the day and night.
“I ride to get to work and to get away from it all. It’s my daily therapy session and it saves me from the gym. I ride to spend time with my son. I ride because I see so much more from the saddle. ... The longer I ride the better I feel. My troubles trouble me less.”
chief photographer at KSEE24/CBS47, started commuting to work on a used Schwinn. He now has two road bikes and a mountain bike.
“Why do I ride? Initially it was because of very high gas prices. I thought, why not get a bicycle and ride to work? That was seven years ago. I now ride to stay fit, relieve stress and in general have fun.”
is an instructor with the League of American Cyclists, who finished the 1200-kilometer (745.6 miles) Paris-Brest-Paris Randonneurs. She has a carbon road bike for road rides and ultra distance endurance events, a steel touring bike for unsupported touring and camping and a hybrid bicycle with a baby seat — for rides with her grandson around town.
“It’s just something that I love to do; for the physical joy, the social interaction and for the excuse to be outside all day.”