The Grit and The Grind

The Grit and The Grind

by Christina Torres

Most cyclists share similar lifestyles. It's all about the bike, the rides, the climbs, the pain, and the company that pushes you to ride harder. It’s about two-toned razor sharp tan lines, why we would rather take the longer scenic back roads, have enormous appetites, and an obsession with France, espresso, and light gear. But ultimately the most important things are our shared love of adventure and nature, self-reliance, and seeking the simple pleasures in life.

Regardless of what cyclist culture trends are, our lifestyle is all about the dedication to the bicycle and the manifesto it holds as a machine for freedom. As we seek to live mindful lifestyles that have a positive impact on the people and world around us, cycling becomes so much more than a transportation alternative: it is a passion. Cycling has become a way to fully experience the places we love and all their details, finding true fulfillment in adventures on the road.

For many of us, the long to escape becomes restlessness if we don’t adventure often. Our wanderlust finds fulfillment in the outdoors and although it sounds romantic, it isn’t always a ride in the park. There are always great lessons to be learned in our expectations and harsh realities out on the trail. On many rides, I think about what it means to measure up to the grind of escaping and the grit that comes along with it. When I’m on the road, I feel that I'm searching for a balance between my body, my bike, and a longing to lose myself. The road is a mirror that reflects discomfort, obstacle, and doubt: it challenges you to sit up in the saddle and keep climbing.

The further you go the longer it takes to get back, and yet, stopping to enjoy the sound of a river or to watch the sunset on the horizon of a mountainscape is what we thrive on. Anything that reminds us of what we left behind is lost in these moments. The bike and the outdoors are great equalizers: they don’t care if you have success, money, or the finest possessions.

The pursuit of freedom in the outdoors comes with risks. Risks we test our limits and skills against, it’s why so many of us gravitate so strongly to adventure cycling. It offers us escape, exploration, and a way to see the world with new eyes. Adventuring by bike has become as much about the story as about the challenges along the way. Few things in life make me happier than combining my passion for cycling, travel, and exploration. For me, the journey on the bike is about the quality of life. Every time I get on a new road I bring with me a different challenge- mental, physical, and emotional- and the experience differs accordingly. Sometimes I feel physically strong, sometimes I feel my balance may be off, sometimes I’m just too exhausted to go any further.  In these journeys, there is always a new town, a bridge slept under, the howling of coyotes, the hunger, the cold, the saddle sores, and the incredible people you meet along the way.


Bio - Christina is the blogger of City Girl Rides, a women’s cycling lifestyle blog. Currently she resides in upstate New York in a cabin with her fiance and dog where she trails around the Hudson Valley woods. You can follow her stories and adventures at City Girl Rides and Instagram.

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