Inspired to ride

I’m still pumped from last night’s encore presentation of Race Across the Sky, an awesome documentary of this year’s Leadville 100 mountain bike race.

Even though I’ve never been a mountain biker, this film features such awesome Colorado scenery and such touching stories of the riders who challenge themselves at this event that I recommend everyone see it. Walking out of the theater with Dottie of LGRAB, Mr. Dottie and my friend Terry, I felt energized and pumped – inspired to get out and push my own riding limits and fueled by the encouraging personal stories from the movie that offer so much support to bike riding.

(For RL’s take on this movie, see his post on Mtn Bike Riders)


A few years ago the Omnimax Theater at the Museum of Science and Industry showed the documentary feature Wired to Win about what it takes to race in the Tour de France. I left that movie experience similarly charged, particularly touched by these words:

“Our goals may not be those of pro athletes,? says the narrator as the remaining riders reach Paris at the end of the punishing three weeks, “but we’re all wiring ourselves to win. Any activity that challenges us, and gives us a sense of purpose, will nourish and strengthen our brains.”

One particular story from Race Across the Sky featured a woman who had been severely injured when she was hit by car while riding her bike just the year before. Her determination to ride after the accident pushed her recovery and she was out on the Leadville 100 course in full force, noting that she may not be stronger in body but she’s definitely stronger in spirit. For her, riding provides nourishment and strength.

Now what if all riders had the kind of support everyday like that shown to the riders during the Leadville 100… where people come out to cheer you on – offering words of encouragement, food, drink, or a push up a tough climb? Of course, in the real world, we don’t ride a course closed off just for cyclists. Yet we are out there facing the challenges of daily bike commuting.

What if everyone rallied around cycling as an everyday activity as much as they do for just one event? Support for cyclists is growing and some city infrastructures are changing to accommodate the cyclists. Could you imagine bike commuter stations that welcome you at the end of your commute to work? Or motorists and pedestrians cheering you on as you push into the headwind? (perhaps that last one is a bit outlandish, but the idea of not fearing motorists isn’t.)

After this movie I realized how much each ride on my bike does inspire me and I’m brought back to Mayor Daley’s words from Monday night’s meeting of the Active Transportation Alliance: “keep on biking and keep on advocating.” Persistence and hard work (on and off the bike) will bring the change.

What (or who) inspires you to ride?


  1. Paul Souders

    This is beautiful and inspiring. I have a hill on my commute, depending on the route sometimes I have to climb 1000′. Not a lot, I know, but every day I get to say to myself: “Well, at least I climbed a hill.”

  2. Dottie

    What a great thought! A world where transportation cyclists are encouraged would be awesome! I’m going to start meeting you at the Lincoln/Wells wind tunnel with Gatorade 😉

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