you ride because you love it. you ride because you need it. you ride because you want it. sometimes you ride because you don’t love, want or need it, you just do it because that is what you do. you ride because it stops you getting fat, you ride because it makes you well, you ride because you need the therapy, you ride because you need the escape. you ride because she rides. you ride because she doesn’t. or he does. or he doesn’t. or, you ride because they do. or because they don’t. (everyone covered there? good.) you ride to find God. or you ride because you know there is no God and because everything, ultimately, is futile and yet that matters so much and you may as well ride anyway because your time here is finite. you ride because you love the earth. you ride sometimes because you hate your self and f*ck can you ride fast when you are angry. you ride because you saw Stephen Roche fight his way back to within touching distance of Pedro Delgado on Stage 17 of the 1987 Tour de France, a feat that made you cry and still does, or you ride because there may be no finer thing in this world than the sight of a young Edouard Louis Joseph Baron Merckx in his Molteni jersey and that is all the inspiration you need. you ride because you once saw a grainy clip of the great Fausto Coppi and saw that pedaling motion, you felt its power and the touch of grace fleetingly upon your being and it has stayed with you forever, and you ride because Gino Bartali saved the lives of dozens of Jews during the Second World War, riding along the lanes through the hills near Florence with falsified travel documents stuffed down his seat tube, destined for desperate people in fear of their very existence, you ride because you love the flora and fauna of the sport, the tales of men like José Beyaert, the Frenchman who won the Olympic road race in ’48 and then disappeared to the South American jungle to become a gem smuggler and an assassin, and you ride because of Anquetil carrying a comb in his pocket so that his hair would always be perfect as he crossed the finish line ahead of the pack, or because that young Malaysian kid fell on the track and got that piece of wood stuck in his calf but had to finish to become World Champion so he calmly stood up and pulled the goddam thing from his leg and got on his bike and carried on and they cheered him like it was Caesar coming back from war victorious through the streets of Rome. you ride because of Octave Lapize screaming ‘vous êtes des assassins! oui, des assassins!‘ at the race organisers as he climbed the Tourmalet way back in 1910 in horrendous conditions, because men were mad enough to plan such a route and because there were others insane enough to ride the thing, and you ride because the tale of Major Taylor inspires the blood to rise in your veins and makes you want to shake the man’s hand, long dead though he may be. you ride because you love the smell of linament oil, you kinda secretly love applying butt cream, you love taking an age to get your bartape perfect and the sound of a freewheel thrumming, love even more the sound of a hundred of the things humming, you ride because when the sunlight comes through the trees above and dapples the road and the rays catch the spokes, however briefly, you almost think that you might just understand this entropic and essentially unknowable universe, and you ride because it needs no language to be on a bike with someone and to look over to them and to smile and to get one back, you ride because the bike is our language – we speak cyclish – and you ride because no one else really understands why the f*ck you ride, because this is our brotherhood, our togetherhood, you ride because you miss the hurt, you ride because you don’t fit in anywhere else, and you ride because you dared once to dream and you don’t ever want to stop.
you ride because you are you.