“measure life not in the what-ifs or the risk, but in the glory of the chance taken. If you fear the icy chill, you’ll never appreciate the sun drenched smiles”…
Riding bikes – it should be simple and it should always be fun. A group of us rode out on Saturday expecting to have to be on the lookout for ice. It was a beautiful morning and a lovely ride. New and old friends chatted about the morning chill and adventures planned for the summer. Reiterating that fact that it was icy, a group of riders decided to come the long way back with me, whilst two rode back the direct, safe, way. Our sun-drenched smiles and perfect ride was shortly to be shattered with the terrible news that one of those two riders had suffered a heart attack and would not be joining us.
Writing this now I’m still in utter disbelief that such a beautiful morning could be so cruelly taken away. None of us on the ride knew the rider, but he was just like every one of us – just like all my friends – the whole thing seems so unfair and unbelievable. Everyone had been so sensible, so full of the joy of riding and so happy to be sharing the beauty of a winter’s morning.
It’s made me question so many things about riding in general and I talked for a long time that evening with my girlfriend about what I was thinking – I ended up realising that for me, I needed to prove to myself that riding bikes is simple, that it is fun and that the best way to move on is to go out and ride with my friends – playing on bikes in the woods – that’s always been my way of dealing with lots of different things.
Drawing back the Sunday morning curtains to a snow covered land filled me with the same passion that we all have – all my mates, everyone on yesterday’s ride and all sorts of folks getting up early for a run or dog-walk, or golf, or whatever you’re into. That love of getting outside, in the cold, and using your body is what drives us. Seven of us met up and rode into the powder fresh snow – within minutes the grimace of the icy cold was gone and sunshine smiles were spreading across everyone’s faces.
Looping back and forth between secret trails and the sign-posted routes at Bedgebury we were treated to another beautiful morning. It was good to get back on the bike. Several times I thought about things whilst I was riding and at other times I thought about nothing – that’s kind of what bike riding is for me. No egos, no showing off, just a bunch of mates riding their bikes for no other reason simpler than for the fun of riding bikes. Same as yesterday and the same as tomorrow.
As riders we should all think about the safety of the rider next to us. Tonight I’ll raise a glass to the rider who didn’t make it home, I’ll be sad for his family and I’ll be thinking about my friend who kept him company on what should have been a beautiful ride home.
Glen rides for the Southborough & District Wheelers. He races Mountain bikes in the UK National XC Points and Eastern XC Series, Road bikes in the Surrey, South-East and Eastern Leagues, TT in the South East Region and ‘Cross in the LCCA League. He receives personal support from Helly Hansen, The Velo House, and the.æight.bicycle.cømpany @eightbikeco #aeightracer