Camille’s Journal Entry #1: On why I love biking and why, for a while, I did not.
So I’ll be getting a bit sentimental today, but I’ve been thinking about the following matter for quite a while and I needed to write it down somewhere. Good thing I have this blog, ha!
I co-founded a cycling blog, I bike pretty much everyday, I try to get involved in the cycling community, it’s easy to figure out that I love biking and that it takes a big place in my life. Riding my bike makes me happy.
However, it was not always the case, but to understand why, we have to go back.
I learned to ride a bike when I was about four. I had this very nice red single speed bike with coaster brakes and a white banana seat. I think it belonged to my cousin before. I loved that bike so much and was so sad when I outgrew it. I actually kept using it even when I got a ‘’big kid’’ bike. The gears on the new bike were terrifying to me, I actually never really used them, it was pretty much always set to a gear I found comfortable enough to bike up hills and on flat.
I used to bike a lot as a child. I was lucky enough to grow in a suburb that’s crossed by a great bike path. My dad would take my brother and I on bike rides almost everyday when we were kids. Biking was a thing we did with my father. I just loved following him and my brother along, just riding, worry free, for the fun of it.
As I grew up, biking became my way to commute around my small town. I never got my driver’s license like all my friends did when I turned 16. I once swore, when I was 8 years old at Christmas dinner, that I would never drive when I was going to be a grown-up, because it’s too polluting and that instead I would move to the city and just ride a bike. I stuck with that, I can be pretty stubborn. Biking then became something I did for fun with my dad (my brother had took on mountain biking and was not really into road bikes anymore), but also something practical.
The year before I started CEGEP (kinda’ like college), my father got sick, then got better, then sick again, then worse, and then passed away. Then I stopped biking.
I moved to Montreal, like I had planed as a kid, and started University. I got a job where all my coworkers were biking and one day, I decided I should do that too. One of my friend was moving back to Chile and I bought his bike. A simple bike made from recycled parts. It was too big for me, but it got me from point A to point B. Still, riding my bike was just a practical thing, it wasn’t fun.
A bunch of things happen, like it seems to do in everyone’s early twenties. Then I met a guy who was biking a lot and we dated for a bit. One day, he took me for a bike ride and as we were biking on the path along the St. Lawrence river in Lachine, I was suddenly submerged by a weird feeling of sadness and nostalgia. I understood why I was not having fun riding a bike. Biking was something I shared with my dad, and even if it now seems so obvious, it took me a while to realise that.
Once I acknowledged that feeling, I started enjoying biking again. I bought a vintage ladies (mixte) frame converted to fixed gear (yes, it was a strange bike) from a friend and rode that all throughout last summer and winter. I later got myself a cheap, but proper, fixed gear bike I’ve been riding it pretty much every day since.
Cycling wise, this summer was very important to me. I progressed a lot as a rider, I participated in Montreal’s first women’s fixed gear criterium, I trained a lot, I broke my wrist (the less fun aspect of biking), and I met (another) boy with great ideas and a passion for biking and we started this blog.
I still get nostalgic and sad sometimes, but now, as I said, riding my bike makes me happy.