A close friend who loves cycling recently declared it was time to work on speed. Last year we rode a two-day, 150-mile charity ride together. Our average speed was 12 mph, not too bad for we middle-aged, not-too-athletic folk, riding a steep and difficult ride.
When younger, I felt impatient with many things: everything and everyone was too slow for me. Driving 10 miles over the speed limit was not good enough. 20, even 30 mph was much better. One relative referred to me as “Ms. Hurry-up”, since I was always encouraging those who walked with me to “hurry up, hurry up!’. We were not exercising or training for anything. I would encourage everyone to “hurry up” even while shopping.
Fast forward twenty years: now it is time to smell the roses. When I am feeling energetic, I ride as fast as I can. While sluggish or feeling just average, I take my time. For some reason, I don’t care to race or to improve the mph on my commute home.
These slower rides certainly have their advantages: being able to observe one’s surroundings, enjoying nature, taking time to take that off-beaten path. The most satisfying rides have included unexpected visits to some of the most beautiful sites Rhode Island has to offer. On three occasions, while cycling slowly, I found money … not just coins, $1, $5 and $20 bills! Had I been racing, surely there would not have been time to scoop up these rewards, even if there was time to notice them.
Sure, I’d love to improve my speed, especially on those days where I have a tight schedule. In the meantime though, it is so great not to have to rush. After all, isn’t that what commuting by bicycle is all about?