I came to LA with winter legs, a fresh import from Vancouver, a city that has been drenched from a winter of El Nino tainted weather. Even though I have been riding year round, I have been doing nothing but easy commutes to and from work during the winter, wanting but not wanting to be the victim of relentless rain. In the one month that I have been riding in the City of Angels, my legs and my heart has gotten stronger than it has ever been, due to the fact that I am riding with cyclists much stronger than me, combined with the fear of getting dropped… since I don’t know my way around. Hey it works! Discomfort sure makes you a stronger person. I have to boast, my winter-legz have quickly become spring-legz (and currently working on the summer-legz)!
In Vancouver, I was a solo rider, purely because of time constraints and being able to ride at my own pace. My busy life in Vancouver also created much desire to get away… and cycling was my ultimate escape. In LA, or any unfamiliar land, I prefer riding with groups because I don’t know my way around, and I am a stereotypical female, with a terrible sense of direction. If you have ridden with me in the past, you would know not to depend on me for directions… but I have to admit I have gotten better, mainly credited to Google Maps, duh.
I don’t take gym classes because I don’t like the thought of having to show up at a specific time— this may sound like commitment issues, but I just like to think that I am a free-spirit… and I hate being constrained by schedules.
But with cycling, it was different. When you are passionate about something, you always make exceptions.
When I began riding bikes over 6 years ago, I did not have anybody to ride with, but I really really wanted to ride! I forced my introverted-self to join group rides with strangers, where I eventually learned and familiarize myself with new routes which granted me the confidence to ride by myself, and at the same time making me plenty of new friends.
Cycling is unfortunately a very hard sport to get into and relies on intrinsic motivation, but once you’ve gotten into the BIKE LIFE, it is almost impossible to stop. You will go out of your way and do anything to get a ride in. Your schedule will revolve around your rides. You spend so much time moving around (or cancelling) lunches, brunches and appointments so everything flows harmoniously around your riding schedule.
The past month, I have been riding with the Los Angeles chapter of the Rapha Cycling Club and new friends that I have met on various rides. I am grateful for the cycling community and like-minded individuals, who share the same love for chasing pain and being outdoors on two wheels.
Ironically, I am driving on average 40 minutes out with my bike, gear and baby wipes, in the backseat… just to ride my bike with the privilege of others to show me the ways. Damn me and my navigation issues! One day, I will learn my way to ride around the city. I am terribly inconvenienced, being in a city that is so spread out and centered around a fucking car culture… although who said that was going to stop me? I will do anything to sustain this lifestyle that I have created for myself in Vancouver, even when I have to start all over in a new city.
When the thought of moving away from Vancouver was lingering in my mind last year, I have to admit one of my biggest fears was not being able to live the way I wanted to, which was exactly the life I have created for myself in Vancouver: being in a career I was happy in, being able to see my friends and family often, being able to ride my bike whenever and wherever I want and basically having the freedom to do anything my heart desires.
But the whole point in life is to experience new things and grow as a person. To do this, you must accept change and adapt to new environments. If something isn’t working, you make it work. If you aren’t living the way you want to live, you continue to walk (or ride) forward and forge a new way of life. So here I am…