Until about four years ago I knew little else about bicycles except that I liked riding mine around town, and prefered them in red. My first bicycle was red, and it only seems right that every bicycle since then should also be red. I remember the thrill of the wind through my hair the first time I peddled down the block with out my training wheels, getting up the courage to get back on after my first big crash, and the endless sense of freedom my bicycle has provided since.
Aside from my own fond memories, bicycles are also a means to bring a community together. I learned that first hand last week as 130 riders from all over the globe descended upon the state of Colorado to climb her mountains and pedal as fast as they could through her demanding terrain. I joined up with the race at the end of stage five as the riders climbed a steep accent into the ski resort of Beaver Creek. Rarely in my life have I seen so many people, let alone an entire town band together with such enthusiasm to host an event like this.
And it didn't stop there. Each start and finish town after was equally enthusiastic. It was contagious in the best possible way.
My own home town boasted the biggest crowd in U.S. cycling history. It was incredible to see each and every community band together to support the race, all because of the combination of a piece of metal (well, carbon fiber now), two wheels and the human spirit.
As I drove home after stage five in to one of Colorado's amazing summer sunsets I couldn't help but marvel at the power of something so simple to do so much.
*Last time in Books and Stories: Back to School