As I rode with my dad last week, I couldn’t help but contemplate our ever growing relationship.
He is family to me, my father, the man who raised me, who held the back of my bike seat when I took off my training wheels for the first time. Although he is not by definition my father, our relationship challenges the concept that blood is thicker than water.
AS I rode, I thought about how lucky I am. We all have family of some sort to start. As we grow, people add to it, some by marriage, some by birth. And as we get older, we create our own group of friends close enough and dear enough to our heart to be called family. And then, for some of us, is our cycling family.
It seems silly, but there is a bond between those who you ride with. Whether it be road or mountain biking, you share a good amount of time with these people, at times trust your life and safety to them. You share a common love and passion that bonds you together. Sometimes they are the only people who will stand to hear you talk about the intricacies of your new bike, the great fit of your new jersey, you endless comparative analysis of disc brakes versus clincher. They will stand patiently with you at the local bike shop with you as you contemplate your “need” for electronic shifting.
Sometimes it’s divisive, your love for a sport or activity puts you separate from your other families. Sometimes its a constant struggle to find balance between all the working relationships in your life. But sometimes, on a sunny spring day, you luck out, and you get to ride alongside with someone who is family to you in every sense of the word. You get to share a little bit of your joy with someone who has brought so much of it to your life.
And if you’re lucky, it won’t end there. Maybe, if you’re really winning at life, you will get to finish that great day with a ride with your daughter, the one you are lucky enough to be family to, and revel in the fact that her love for cycling grows every day, her ease on her bike builds, and find happiness in watching her ride, shoulders back, head held high, smile on her face, as she becomes another generation of your cycling family.