Do you pedal downhill?

Really. Do you pedal downhill?

Do you count every revolution? Every heartbeat? Every breath? Every second until the climb is finished? Until the ride is finished?

Or do you feel like the journey ended far too soon?

Do you mash? Or do you spin like a hamster in a cage? Upright? Or in an aero tuck? Is the world a blur in your peripheral vision? Do you know whether the hay has been freshly mown? Or the neighbor’s grass?

Do you shave your legs? Did that twenty-something girl in the compact car actually check you out? Did the guy? And was it you or the bike? Do you check yourself out in shop windows as you fly past? And when you do – because you know that you do – do you move your hands from the tops to the drops? Do you do this, too, when you pass other cyclists coming from the opposite direction?

Do you pamper your ride? Wipe down after a ride? Lube the chain? Occasionally scratch dried mud from the frame?

Do you wave at cyclists? Drivers? Pedestrians? Do you see every rider in the distance as another obstacle to conquer? To reel in? To pass? Do you ring your bell as you pass? Do you even have a bell? Fenders? A leather Brooks saddle? A carbon-based ass hatchet?

Do you prefer downtube shifters? Brifters? Bar ends? Stem shifters? Three speed? No speed? Fixie? Matching gruppo? Cobbled together mish mosh? Smooth as silk? Clattering? Shrieking brake pads? Fat tires? Skinny?

Do your non-cyclist friends think they’re funny when they call you “Lance?” Do they even have a clue who Eddie is? Do you curse at head winds? Recognize imperceptible changes in road elevation? Stay indoors when it rains and mope?

Do you come to a complete and full stop or is that philosophy really more of a guideline?

Are your bars finished in twine? Or electrical tape? Cotton or cork or leather or vinyl or some kind of foamy substrate known only to 1970’s human kind? Do you have lots of spokes? Broken spokes?

Do you ride for fun? For exercise? For challenge? For you? Is your bike your boon companion? Or simply a mode of transportation? Do you race? Commute? Chat with a cycling buddy? Treasure every drop of perspiration? Scoff at carbon fiber? Exclaim to all within hearing that, “It’s all in the engine anyhow.”

And most importantly, do you pedal going downhill?

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