This time, I started thinking about my friend +Jason Darden and how he brought me back to cycling. I had drifted into a life that involved more partying than riding by about a 100:0 ratio. Jason meanwhile, had continued racing and had gotten on the powerful Chisholm Racing team as a Category 2 rider. He specialized in criteriums, which to be honest, was really about all there was to race back in the early nineties.
Jason showed up at my door in full team kit with a gorgeous red, white and blue Schwinn Paramount with a full Dura Ace kit and the first STI shifters I had ever seen. Jason said, "Get your bike. Let's go ride."
We had grown up on bikes together, Jason and I. Our houses were less than a mile apart when we were growing up and we lived right on the edge of the Ft. Bragg Military Reservation which was nothing but sandy pine tree scrublands in every direction. We had great country roads to play on and we took full advantage. We spent countless hours in the saddle together in high school.
I got my kit on and pumped up the tires in my bike. Fortunately, down tube friction shifters withstand a lot of neglect or else my bike would not have been functional it had been so long since I had ridden it. We headed out at a comfortable pace, out into the country roads that surrounded Greensboro back then. We road and talked and slowly but surely I emerged from the fog I had been living in. I will never forget us passing this exotic bird farm with all of these parrots living in breeding cages stacked up in transfer trailers. The end result of this one ride was the rekindling of my love of riding.
After two years of not riding, I got back on the bike that day and haven't gotten off since. If you haven't been riding in a while, then consider this your gentle reminder. And to give you a simple, modest goal to keep you in the saddle and turning pedals, consider signing up for 30 Days of Biking and pledge to ride your bike every day in April. And make today's Mellow Monday ride your first ride of your #30DaysofBiking pledge! The one thing I know about riding my bike is that I never regret it.