Some cyclists' most memorable rides are about the setting, others', the company.
Some cyclists' most memorable rides are about the setting, others', the company. Devon Stephens/iStockphoto.com
Bill Strickland has biked all over the world, but he remembers best one sharp curve near his home with his daughter in the rear saddle of a tandem bike. He was trying to turn her onto cycling, when one day, they got in over their heads heading down a steep hill.
"I actually thought we were going to wreck," he tells NPR's Neal Conan. At the bottom of the hill, "the bike just sort of compressed, and this big wave went through us, almost like a sound." And suddenly, they were just coasting.
"And [my daughter] was beating me on the back, and she said, hey, dad, did you hear that whoom? Did you hear that sound?" says Strickland. "And I knew then that she'd experienced what I loved about cycling."
The editor-at-large from Bicycling put together the magazine's collection, "The Ride Of Your Life." He says riding a bike is something almost everyone can relate to, even the youngest of us.
"Bicycles are one of the milestones of youth," says Strickland. "When you learn to ride a bike, it's a really big deal, and that first time you get to go out on your own, past the driveway, away from your parents."
And what's more, there's something liberating about riding a bike that you can't get anywhere else. "You can go a little faster than you can on foot. You can go a lot faster if you're a daredevil. But it's much, much more intimate than being in a car, than being on a bus, than any other way we travel," he says. "It's really the best of everything there is about seeing new places."
But Strickland says he was surprised by the best rides his readership submitted. "When we put this story together, we expected to get great adventure stories, these amazing capers and life-threatening situations," he says. Instead, cyclists submitted stories of rides that took on personal, even revelatory significance.
So, tell us: What's the most memorable bicycle ride you've ever been on, and why?