Happy Independence Day! As an American celebrating my first 4th of July outside of the USA, today is a great day to reflect on how a bicycle can mean independence and freedom in so many ways.
My bicycle is my independence. When I set out on my own, propelled only by my own power, I’ve found confidence. I can get from point A to point B relying on nothing more than my muscles and two wheels. I’m no longer stuck on the same bus route or watching the same subway stations fly by on my commute — I can take any route I want. Enjoying the sights and sounds that you wouldn’t get any other way.
Riding means I’m free to feel amazing and to be amazed at what my body can accomplish. I pedal harder because I want to achieve more — so much so that I can be surprised by my own efforts somedays! I love the way I feel strong as I power up a hill and feel like I’m winning, beating myself and what I thought I could accomplish. Then, the best part for me is enjoying the plummet all the way to the bottom! That rush makes every sore muscle worth it.
When I ride, my mind is free to escape. On a bike I can find solace — and time away from my agenda, task list or responsibilities (event just for a little bit!). That means I return to my work with a clear head, refreshed and ready for the next objective.
Riding means I’m free to work out whatever emotion I need to. When I ride with groups, I find friends who understand exactly why I feel SO EXCITED on a bike. But they also know that I ride when I’m frustrated, or tired, or happy or celebrating. I ride to feel like myself and other cyclists know the same feeling. We nod to each other on the way past, tipping our caps — they get it.
All of those reasons together underline what I truly believe — that riding a bike means you’re free to feel free! To feel like you are absolutely flying when you find that smooth, straight bit of road, or the perfect hill, or when you get to zoom past all the cars stopped in gridlock traffic. Free to be alone with your thoughts or to share them with your mates. And free to #KeepClimbing — to push your body just a little further so that you can grow stronger every day!
This 4th of July I’ll be celebrating from the seat of a bike, free to do whatever I feel like doing, stopping wherever I want to stop, and riding however long my legs will let me!
x Ellen Schwartze
Celebrate with Queen of the Mountains by tagging your cycling independence story for a chance to win a pair of summer socks! Use #KeepClimbing and #Independence on a new photo on Instagram (and be sure to tag us in the photo, too!).
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