I'm pretty sure I wrote some kind of New Year's message in this very forum about this time last year, but to be honest, I'm too lazy to go back through the archives to see if I did or didn't, or what I wrote, so if any of this sounds familiar I invite you to kick me in the teeth right now.
First of all, I hope all of you had a safe and happy holiday. Mine was safe, and mostly happy, so I suppose that is what that is. The best thing I did, besides hanging out with my family, was to get outside in the Minnesota winter and ride my newly-built Pugsley.
This blog isn't about that ride. You can click on the picture to go to my flickr site and read more details on that if you'd like. I just wanted to write this because while I was on my bike during the two rides I did over New Year's holiday, I remembered why it is that I work in the bicycle industry. Yeah sure, there are tons of reasons that I stay: the people, the laid-back atmosphere, great group rides and parties. All that is great, but it isn't why I stay. The real reason I love this industry is the very same reason I became addicted to cycling 17 years ago while I was living in Japan. Back then the bicycle represented a means of transportation first, and a tool to explore as a way to relieve boredom as an added bonus. But soon I discovered that the bike itself represented freedom and liberation.
I often forget this very important thing. So, as I was riding my bike across Long Lake in Mahtomedi over the holiday it dawned on me (again) that this is what it's all about for me. Being out on the frozen lake, riding past ice fishermen and snowmobilers I quickly realized that I was at that moment in a place I could not be during the warmer months. Not on a bike anyway. I was in the middle of a snow-covered lake, stopping to talk with ice fishermen and discovering new places I couldn't get to on my bike during the warm months.
My bike is a tool I use to take refuge from phony business speak, micromanagement, computers and phones, and the blather of the television. I don't make New Year's resolutions, but this year I vow to force myself into situations that remind me of what's important. Freedom. If I owned an inspirational calendar, or if I could put one of these slogan posters on my list to Santa, it would say something like, Bicycles are freedom. Get some, or some other such nonsense. But, alas, I'm left just my Pugsley, sub-zero temps and crunchy white pristine snow to ride it in to find that one thing I need but seem to always lose track of.