As this group proceeds down the road of legitimacy and solvency, I ask you to consider the experiences that for you, render a ride as epic or extraordinary. Everyone will answer this question loyal to their own heart and gut, but for me- an epic ride consists of all or some of the following qualities.
Magic-In our superhero outfits nobody cares who makes how much money performing what tasks. Bicycles have the power to reorganize the mainstream social order. A legend on the trail can be anyone in their “away from the bike” life. Local legends aren’t just strong riders, they make our lives more interesting and our community unique.
Black panthers, jaguarundi, ivory-billed woodpeckers, skunk apes, foxes, deer, coyotes, eastern diamondback rattlers, alligators, manatees, grey fox squirrels, black squirrels, albino squirrels,and many other creatures have been spotted by mountain bikers on rides. This is further evidence of magic and not to be questioned by the layman, the rationalist, or the critical thinker. Magic is only understood by those who experience it.
Like Woody Guthrie’s guitar, our machines kill fascists.
Skills are magic. If you could see Pete jump the creek on the Live Oak Connector you would know this. For the rest of us, the most subtle flexing of our bikehandling abilities is still the nonchalant doodling of great forces acting through us.
Space- Epic rides can occur in any setting. Beneath a cathedral of Oak trees or slogging across the mall parking lot, it is the change of perspective of our physical surroundings that nourishes the soul.
Sometimes a riding partner needs mental and physical space. Sometimes the presence of a friend says all that is needed.
No matter what trails are developed or closed, nobody can ever stop you from riding all day, pretty much wherever you want when you get down to it. So let’s color inside the lines, make a pretty picture, but give no quarter to talk of “organize or die”. The goal is to enhance the experience. The sky is not falling, nor will it ever fall.
Love- I have been on rides that were epic not for the pedaling, but for the communion. I have left the house on my bike to learn of births, deaths, engagements, promotions, demotions, heartbreak, inspiration, and disappointment. I have shared many of these life milestones on rides myself. That’s what I am there for, nobody pays me to ride my bike fast or for a particular distance.
Freedom- No matter how many miles I ride, my body will never catch up to the distance my mind travels when in the saddle. No signs, no obvious rule of law, no responsbilities beyond having a good time and getting home safe. In this sense, every time you leave the pavement it is epic. Act silly, go big, take break, take a nap do whatever you want, its a bike ride- not a board room.
So here’s to Fat of the Land, and everyone who has supported the cause– let’s make it an epic ride.