Question: What is it that you love about riding?
Answer: Sit down. Imagine…
You are pedalling. Your heart beats heavily in your chest – its rapid rhythm echoing throughout your entire body. Looking up, you rock side-to-side on your bike, and see it: the top of the climb is only metres away. You push on. Every breath is painful; gasping for air you feel as though you’re drowning, your breaths become shorter and more haphazard. Only one more metre. Gasp. Gasp.
You’ve made it. A prolonged sigh escapes from your mouth. The view before you takes away what little breath you have left. Ahead: the hill drops away, flowing down into a jungle of colour and sound before finally reaching out to the golden sand that fills the coastline. You freewheel along the flat and absorb it all.
The sun, its light fractured by the trees spotted along the road, is warm and comforting on your skin. You look up. The sky is a deep sea of blue, save for the light smudges of white clouds drifting leisurely in the distance like discarded wrappers lost in the ocean.
Slowly the road starts to descend. You refocus onto the path ahead. Your breath has slowed and your muscles begin to relax. You pick up speed. Thirty. Forty. Fifty. You stop checking the kilometres per hour and follow the road as it hugs the jagged rock face of the mountain. You lean into the wind, it seems to guide your body; it pushes and pulls. Goosebumps erupt along your exposed skin, the warmth of the ascent rapidly fading away.
Fresh air blasts into your face forcing tears to reluctantly trickle out from the corner of your eyes. A sense of weightlessness overcomes you; feeling as though you are suspended in midair you fall to the mercy – much like a feather falling graciously to the ground – to the whimsy of the wind. Quixotically, and in an act of sheer irony, you are also incredibly grounded like a freight train hurling along iron tracks. It is an indescribable feeling.
Immersed by the moment, enriched by the act of living, you smile. Not just the conventional everyday smile you might see filling advertisements for the dentist, no, this is a grin that is inimitable, one that cannot be forced: it is a pure expression of joy, an uncontrollable reflex that cannot be hidden. You hold back laughter. Another corner approaches. It wraps around the mountainside. Right. Left. The road continues to drop.
You are travelling a breakneck speed yet, for now, you see the world in slow motion.
On the side of the road a wallaby looks up from the grass beneath its feet. You barely notice it. It does not care for, nor entirely comprehend your existence; it knows little of you, you are but a speeding blur, a passing light amongst a galaxy of shining stars. And yet in that flicker of a second – the world almost grinding to a stop, the bustling trees slowing to a rhythmic wave, and the lone wallaby looking up from its meal – life itself briefly aligns, like an eclipse. Then your are gone pedalling down the mountain, the wallaby hops into the bush and life continues as it always does.
You arrive home filled with happiness and hunger. You stretch out on the couch, your body aches, yet that smile, that uncontrollable reflex, still covers your face. Tomorrow? You do it all again.
So. What’s not to love?