I was 8 years old on a bright blue and yellow BMX bike, pedaling on a narrow trail through the farmland along the longest river in France – alone.
Of course mine and ten other families were not far behind me, floating along the Loire River in two houseboats, but I couldn’t see them or hear them. As far as I was concerned, I was an intrepid explorer, discovering a secret world on my two-wheeled steed.
The little rocks and roots crossing my path became mountains and evil snake-monsters that I bravely charged over. I detoured from the path to help a farmer untangle the legs of a newborn calf, still caught inside its mother, and I suddenly became a comic book hero – part cowgirl, part midwife. Even when pedaling through the villages with my family on our mission to find the best crêpery in France, I still had the power to move at my own pace, take detours and investigate curiosities at will along the way.
The combination of a new place and a bicycle, mystery and freedom, resulted in such a thrill that I have been addicted ever since, exploring dozens of developed, as well as totally wild, places all over the world. The bike has allowed me to break away from the throngs of tourists on quick trips to Maui and Maine and added a whole new level of adventure to my epic journeys in Central and South America. I even worked as an adventure guide in Costa Rica after graduating from college and completed the infamous Ruta de los Conquistadores by bike. It was indeed one of the most intense and life-changing experiences of my life, but it wasn't until I came to work for IMBA that I realized the bragging rights I could claim from the journey.
Admittedly, the bicycle bug is constantly itching me to figure out a way to get on the saddle more than my schedule allows. These days, with a kid and a real job, I am on a much shorter leash. But, thanks to the great trails and bike parks nearby, I can still experience that same thrill of adventure even if my two-wheeled escape lasts no more than to two-hours.
How did the bicycle bug bite you?