This short essay sent in by Sean Condon is the 4th of 5 finalists picked for Road Holland's Cycling Shorts Essay Contest. All finalists and the grand prize winner will receive some incredible cycling gear! Enjoy.
In the data driven society we live in now a days, crunching numbers, whether they be distance, cadence, heart rate, elevation or wattage, is all the rage. Sometimes, though, cycling is just as much about time spent off the bike instead of on, as well as other aspects that can’t be measured by any concrete metric. There’s a quote by Tim Cahill that goes, “A journey is best measured in friends, not in miles.”
Last Fall my wife and I organized a winery tour ride called Cycle 2 Corks, during which we rode a few miles and visited three local wineries in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts on a lovely Sunday in September. There was a wide range of bikes in our mini-peloton, but regardless of frame material, all were welcome. Indeed, at roll-out there were many folks who perhaps knew only one or two people, or maybe none at all. By the end of the ride, that would no longer hold true.
That day all of us put our nose up in the air a bit, pinkies extended, and assumed the aristocratic air of fine wine connoisseurs. Our finely attuned palettes were heightened through the element of athletic endeavor required to propel us from one vineyard to the next. We tasted side by side, offering up our authoritative judgments on the vintages placed before us. Very few of them fell short of our lofty expectations, by the way! Whether it was due to our bodies need for hydration and energy or just that all three wineries produced a fine range of wines is hard to say, but we’re leaning heavily towards the latter.
And along the way we talked. And told stories. And by the end of the day even strangers became new friends.
While the miles were lovely, and the wines we tasted delicious (whoever thought Strawberry Rhubarb wine would be so nectarous), the ultimate payout was the time spent with friends, old and new. We all pedaled that day, and certainly the bike was the unifying element that brought us together, but whether on the bike or meandering around the winery, the threads that bound us together that day were conversations. Connections. In this regard, the journey measured much greater than a simple 34.29 miles.
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