There’s No Place Like Home
A bike can be the best adventure partner of all
There’s a feeling you get the second you clip into the pedal. It’s a sense of the familiar, of belonging — of coming home. For some, that feeling comes later, once they feel the sting in their quads as they climb. But it’s still home. Of course the Ruby can take you there — to your tranquility base — the only question is, what’s home look like to you?
The road reaches out, twisting its switchback arms to embrace the mountain in front of you. You start the climb and work yourself into a rhythm. Settle in. This is the feeling you’ve been looking for. It’s strange to think of anything beyond a four-walled structure as being home, but out here in this moment, riding up a mountain with your lungs burning and legs tapping out a steady pace, this is where you live.
Potholes, rumble strips, broken and agitated tarmac — these are the rude, unsolicited interruptions at your front door. And we designed the Ruby to be the polite “thanks but no thanks” that turns them away. It’s a bike that can help you get to the No Place Like Home state, and while this would be the perfect opportunity to talk about how it does that (link below), we’re more interested in this idea of home on the bike, and of what that means to different people.
On rides, you can find your heart and your courage. Out there, you can still your mind and find peace, comfort, and contentment. So the question is, what’s your idea of home when you ride? Are you a “Full House”-er, preferring the Sunday Skwod to the Sunday solo ride? Or maybe you’re more “A Prairie Home Companion” kind of rider, trying to get lost so you can find something new, and maybe yourself in the process? When you click the heels of your road shoes three times, where will you be?
Around a corner the wind whips, bringing with it the sound of voices carrying. Riders are approaching. You sweep around the bend, tucked in the familiar, smooth flow of the pod as it moves as one along the road. As your group zooms by, there is laughter and easy conversation. It’s casual and relaxed, as though you’ve just met to catch up for coffee; only you’re doing it while moving at 18mph. There will be coffee too, later, and probably a pastry to split. As the road reaches up for the first in a series of rollers, the group quiets and stands almost as one to yaw up the climb. Gears click and breaths are quietly working. You love being here, with these people, and in this moment. As you crest the rise and sit, the conversation continues, barely skipping a beat. You trust these people with your happiness and wellbeing. For you, the group ride is like having a second family. Added bonus: someone always has a spare tube.
You walk out, the sound of your cleats on the concrete floor of the driveway. It’s early, and the click of your shoe into the pedal snaps out into the morning air. You’re stressed about something you can’t quite put your finger on, and it’s been eating away at you all night — it kept you awake, actually. You begin to ride. It takes about 10 minutes for the thought niggle to detach itself from your brain. Unmoored, it drifts from your mind entirely. This is what you needed today — to find solace in the motion. The thoughts fly away with every pedal stroke and turn of the crank. This is not how you ride every day, but there are days when this is 100% the only way you want to ride. This is where you decompress and let it all go. We all seek to be Home Alone occasionally, and we’ll fiercely protect that sacred “me” time just as fiercely as Macaulay Culkin did in the movie.
A Prairie Home Companion
When you start the day, your only plan is to find some new roads and see where they go. You manage to rope some familiar characters into the adventure, promising nothing more than good company and a few back roads to satiate the wanderlust. Your friends take the bait, tuned to your “let’s get lost” frequency. As you roll toward the part of the route where you’re not sure what the road is going to be like, a sense of giddy anticipation ripples through the group. Later, you round a bend and come to a breathless halt as the landscape opens itself up to you. The plan was loose to begin with, and you’re probably a little off course right now but it doesn’t matter. As you look out across the rolling hills and toward distant horizons you feel the soft wind on your face, familiar and loving. In a hashtag world, photos of this big-sky abode would be peppered with all the #blessed and #outsideisfree tags as can be typed in a roadside minute, but the only word in your head right now is “yes.” Bonus: You’ve seen three cars in the last two hours.
Tree House of Horrors
People think you’re weird. Who likes to climb? Ugh, horrible. But for you, there’s something about finding places on the maps that squiggle up and seeking them out. As you begin the climb — three miles is your sweet spot — you click down gears and find the perfect rhythm. Your technique is one you’ve developed over the years, by virtue of continually putting yourself through years of self-inflicted climb school. Mostly, you’re seated, tapping out a regular beat that gets you up with a regimented efficiency. But sometimes the grade is aggressive and you have to match it, so you stand. This is your favorite kind of move, even though you know it saps your energy faster. But there’s a raw, off-the-leash power to it as you rise from your saddle and begin to dance your bike up the climb. Your mind drifts — it’s just you and the action of getting to the top. Focus. Commitment. Some people hate to climb and bitch about it — which you sometimes do too — but as you crest the summit and conquer the day it is as though you have once again defeated that part of you that says “not possible.” And there’s always the down.