We ride at night.
We ride with our lights and helmets on.
We ride tight together. One wheel paces the next.
We call the bumps, the potholes, the traffic lights.
We ride together, trusting each other half an arm’s length away. We move as a single, sinuous snake, gliding around turns and over bridges. We dart past dog walkers. The faster riders set the pace and break the wind up front. The slower riders hold onto their wheels, praying that our legs and lungs don’t max out before the next hill.
We are a tribe. We are an intentional community on wheels. We choose to ride each week, creating the thrill of the bike pack together.
The faces in our tribe have changed over the years. Old friends have transferred to new duty stations, and on occasion returned. Other friends have passed away. Some died of cancer, some from alcohol. Several died by their own hands. And more than a few died from bullets, and guns. Those of us surviving bear scars on our bodies and our souls.
Marriage vows are spoken and divorces are decreed and still, we ride. Babies are born and dogs die and still, we ride. Friendships are forged and enmities are forgotten and still, we ride. Bones are broken and knees are bloodied and still, we ride.
We ride to forget the pain for an hour or two. We ride to lose ourselves in the peloton. We ride because it hurts too much not to. We ride because we are weak, and life is short, and because we should cherish what we have in the moment we are in.
We ride to live.