VeloVoices Love Letters

Already this season, we’ve had our cycling ups and downs so I thought it might be nice to remember why we love cycling in the first place. And what better day than Valentine’s Day to post up our VeloVoices love letters to our favourite sport. 

The gift of spring

Midge: You know that feeling you had as a kid when you woke on Christmas morning and saw the stocking from Father Christmas at the end of your bed? That moment when you can’t stop smiling because #hellyeah it’s finally here? That’s me on the morning of race days in spring and I LOVE it.

Obsessed and madly in love

Panache: Cycling wasn’t my first sports love. Soccer was. Soccer was like a first girlfriend though – I have fond memories and I still think about her from time to time but I knew I could never stay with her.  Cycling, on the other hand, turned out to be my soulmate. Even after almost two decades of being with her, I’m still obsessed and madly in love. I love both the pleasure and the pain she so lovingly dishes out. I love her desert winds, rough pavé, and curvy mountain descents. I love when she breaks away and when she finishes in a sprint. I love her friends – they have become my friends. I love her European roots. I love her fashion sense. I love her passion. I love her. I really love her.

Riding through Dreamland

Sheree: These quotes sum up why I love cycling.

After your first day of cycling, one dream is inevitable. A memory of motion lingers in the muscles of your legs, and round and round they seem to go. You ride through Dreamland on wonderful dream bicycles that change and grow. ~H.G. Wells, The Wheels of Chance

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. ~Ernest Hemingway

Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride. ~John F. Kennedy

Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia. ~H.G. Wells

Open-hearted and generous

Ant: Among the many wonderful things which cycling has to offer, probably my favourite characteristic is the sport’s openness. Firstly, attending a race is free. It literally costs nothing to stand at the roadside and watch the greatest riders fight it out, inches from your eyes. Then there’s the arena itself, the roads on which our sporting heroes race are open to us. We can ride the same climbs and cobbles as the professionals. We can even compare ourselves to them over Strava (if it’s your kind of thing). And as if that’s not enough, the riders themselves open themselves up to us over social media, affording us the kind of access and insight that is rare in other sports. Imagine being able go to the SuperBowl, play on the pitch, and chat to the players afterwards, and not have to pay a penny for the experience… sounds unreal, doesn’t it? That’s what our sport is like, and that’s why I love it.

Stories within stories

Kitty: I love cycling because there’s always any number of different stories being played out in the same race. From the variety of surfaces – smooth tarmac to jagged cobbles to white gravel roads – to the unpredictability of the weather, the riders have to cope with all kinds of terrains and conditions. And that’s just the start – there’s also the desire to win, the different rivalries within the peloton, the races within races (especially in Grand Tours). Even in the most predictable races, there’s always something to hold my attention and get my heart racing.

Respecting the sacrifice

Giro stage 5 John Degenkolb Jered Gruber

John Degenkolb @GruberImages

Jack: Of course, one of the big draws of cycling is its sheer sporting excitement: the astonishment of seeing Alberto Contador dance effortlessly up a mountain, the amazement of seeing Mark Cavendish picking his way through a field of fading lead-out men, the tense wait for the arrival of the finish line. Have they done enough to win?

However, there’s a similar buzz watching many other sports, and other elite athletes. The unique joy of cycling lies elsewhere. It lies in its perfect simplicity, its spectacular scenery, its endless unpredictability, its convivial community – itself representative of a truly transnational appeal.
Sure, when race organisers publish stage results and general classifications, team names and national flags accompany the competitors. But cycling is fundamentally about a struggle against oneself; the real challenge is fighting the interminable desire to just stop pedalling. To become a professional cyclist is to accept a life of pain; to become a cycling fan is to respect them for their sacrifice.
It means that unlike many sports, it isn’t riven by factionalism or fanaticism. It aspires to be warm, welcoming, and global. That is why I love cycling.

Header image: Slovenia, Spicnik, Mature man cycling through vineyard; Creative RF By: Westend61 via GettyImages 

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