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Things We Never Thought We’d Do Before We Started Riding

By Megan Flottorp

Cycling is a powerful tool that helps us venture outside of our comfort zones and embark on adventures and experiences we’d never dreamed of. Life on two wheels can undoubtedly take some getting used to but once you embrace all that it has to offer, the sky is truly the limit regarding what it can help you accomplish.

From appreciating the strength and power of our bodies to raising funds for something we care about – there are so many ways bikes help us surprise ourselves.

In celebration of spring and the epic riding season unveiling itself before us, we wanted to take a moment to appreciate just how transformative the gift of cycling can be. Goofy, moving, and all spoken from the heart – our cherished cycling community shares how cycling has helped them discover a different side of themselves.

Use a bike to make a difference in the lives of others  

Bikes can help us make meaningful contributions to communities and organisations. Here some readers share how they used cycling as a force of good.

 “I initially used cycling for weight loss, but ended up discovering it has much more to offer and have since used it to raise over $10k for local charities. I have raised money to support the families of fallen first responders in my home area of Philadelphia area and participated in events for a non-profit organisation that protect resources of the New Jersey Pinelands.”Kris Steinwender

“I started cycling for charity and just didn’t stop. I had no idea I would continue riding a ton for sheer joy and commuting 15 miles each way (hilly) to work. I also wouldn’t have thought that as retirement approaches, I realise that if all I could do is ride, I’ll be okay.” Patty Acerenza Meagher

“I got a road bike to do a triathlon. I was terrified of riding it, but now I’ve truly surprised myself by becoming a tri coach. I help other nervous cyclists to enjoy this awesome sport and become confident on their bikes. When I was starting, I got some coaching from a British cycling coach, which really helped, so I’m paying that forward.” Kirsty Bennett

Realise our own strengths and potential  

Cycling also assists many in tapping into an inner power that had been passively waiting before it experienced the freedom of two wheels.

“Cycling is a great teacher for me. I have a hard time letting go, rolling with it, and using momentum to get over things. Mountain bike teaches me precisely that. I have never thought of being able to cycle as much as I can now and hopefully even more in the future while developing my skills. 

I had never thought about wearing cycling gear, and now I see my future as a marketing professional in that industry. I love how design, tech and sports are combined there.

I love how bicycle touring makes adventures so unique. I see everything from a different perspective while travelling. And what I could have never imagined, the HUNGER after a ride, when I start eating and seemingly never feel full. That’s a powerful feeling.”Judit Huszár

“Before I started riding, I could never have imagined I would become an IRONMAN at 60 years old!”Mark Hollywood

“Before I started cycling, I could never have imagined living without a car. I realised the freedom of bikes that are light and fast, though. So, I sold my car and now live off my e-bike in car-crazy LA. I use it to get everywhere.” – Rafe Husain

Develop wild quirks we end up feeling proud of

Of course, some habits our bikes prompt us to adopt might seem a bit wacky to the uninitiated…

“Before I started riding, I could never ever have imagined I would end up spending $8,000 on a bike! I definitely don’t regret it, though. I’ve got a BMC Roadmachine. She’s purple, and her name is Aubergine.” – Renee Marchant

“There are many things I do now that I wouldn’t have imagined! Just for starters: wearing Lycra in public, looking forward to exercising, and riding 100 miles in one day!” – Greg Bergman

“I would never have thought I would shave my legs. It may not make me faster in real life, but it makes me FEEL faster!” – Dave Kraus

“I would never have thought I’d be looking at the forecast on wind speed to decide if I can ride inside or outside during the start of spring. Of course, there is also getting cool swag from events/races to commemorate the memories and meeting great friends from doing epic cycling adventures.” – Christopher Bates

“Before I started riding, I never thought I would be doing themed photoshoots with murals in my town. Every summer, Sacramento hosts Wide Open Walls, where around 20 to 30 artists are invited to paint murals throughout Midtown and surrounding areas. Three years ago, I started cycling and thought taking themed photos would be fun for bike month. It is such a blast, even if capturing the photo is embarrassing at the time.” – Shannon Albers

“Before cycling, I never would have imagined I’d be discussing certain parts of my anatomy in public!” – Maggie Lewis

Embrace our bodies

Speaking of anatomy, cycling is also an excellent means by which we can overcome doubts about our bodies and feel empowered in the skin we are in.

“I could never have imagined I would end up riding 100 miles while managing Type 1 Diabetes… and then signing up again, and again, and again. Now I ride every year to support JDRF, an organisation leading the fight against T1D by funding research, advocating for policies that accelerate access to new therapies, and providing a support network for millions of people around the world impacted by T1D.” – Catherine Francolini

“Cycling has surprised me by teaching me how to love my body as it is and focus on what it can DO. I ended up losing almost 50 pounds by cycling, but I did it from a place of love and respect for how awesome my body is and how much it can accomplish. Now I help other women lose weight this way too. It feels amazing to help women lift themselves up instead of tearing themselves down.” – Stacy Ann Smith

A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to this article! We love the wild diversity of our cycling community and seeing all the ways bikes make a difference.