Hi. Just got back from the MS 150 — a 150 mile supported bike ride supporting Multiple Sclerosis. The event stretches over 2 days with riders going about 75 miles each day tenting out or camping in a gym between. It was a great event with about 3700 riders raising 2.5 million dollars. I didn’t ride, but instead supported my wife and her friend — their first biking event ever.
As I supported riders coming across the finish line with a hoot, a holler, a high five or a smile, I found the variety of people and bikes absolutely amazing. Man in jeans riding a Huffy mountain bike. BIG people. skinny people. Vintage bikes. Carbon fiber bikes. Polka dot skirts. Dreadlocks. Spanditos. People pumping fists madly crossing the finish line like Lance Armstrong. Messenger bags. Fixed gears. Hipsters. People too reserved to even flash a smile after riding 150 miles!? And some who looked like they wanted to hurl. FTW, dude wearing only a red singlet, big yellow rimmed sunglasses and a pencil thin mustache.
I was absolutely amazed by the humanity crossing the finish line. Also amazing was the difference in riders and their bikes. It made me think alot about bike philosophy. I’ve never competed in a race yet would consider myself a serious biker. I’m a biker not a cyclist. And like to ride vintage bikes with rust. I’m not sure yet what to think about spandex. Mismatched fenders are something great and wonderful. I don’t commute to work with my bikes but love to hop on them after dinner and take the kid to the tree fort or down to the pond for fishing. I’d love to organize a Thursday night pub crawl (on bikes) with my co-workers and nearly have enough used bikes in my garage to support the crew.
Bike philosophy is an interesting thing, but seeing the MS 150 riders cross the finish line for over 2 hours made me realize it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is to get out there and pedal. Wear what you like. Do what you want. Get out on the bike. Have fun.