27 June 2019

From Mexico City To Colorado, And A New Purpose

There are times when I believe that cycling is the only reason why I have anything that can be described as mental or emotional health.  I become sad, even depressed, when I can't ride for significant periods of time.  Also, I took two bike tours that were, at least in part, attempts to restore myself to some degree of sanity, and another led me to the single most important transformation I had to make.  

The latter ride took me up the Col du Galibier as well as other famed Tour de France and Giro d'Italia climbs in the Alps.  I started that tour in Lyon, France as a guy named Nick.  Two years later, I began my current life as a middle-aged lady named Justine.

The other two tours followed crises in my life, one of which culminated in a sort of minor breakdown.  In both of those rides, I spent weeks--actually, months on the first tour--on my bike in foreign lands, living on a student's wages or less.  Don't get me wrong:  I experienced all sorts of pleasures on both of those rides, as well as the one in the Alps.  But they also were power-washes, if you will, against the detritus of some past experiences that had been causing me even more internal distress than I'd realized--or, perhaps, was willing to admit.

So when I came across Rafael's story, I felt as if I'd met someone after my own heart.  Of course, I don't imagine that his ride from Mexico City to Colorado will lead him to the sorts of changes I made.  But he does talk about the restorative powers of his ride, and how it led him to a mission, if you will:  fixing bicycles for underprivileged people in his newly-adopted community.

The next time someone asks you why you ride, ask yourself (and that person):  What would your life be like if you didn't ride?

No comments:

Post a Comment