Life on two wheels: My cycling journey

I was recently asked, “Why do you love cycling so much?”

It’s simple: Cycling opened my eyes to the great outdoors and has given me some of the best life experiences over the past ten years. It’s shaped who I am.

Where it all began

My love for cycling began while I was at University.

I was a typical student: Somewhat lazy, unhealthy, and drinking too much. Sports, which I had always loved, had taken a back seat.

I decided I needed a kickstart, so I signed up for a triathlon – courtesy of my mate, Sam Jones, persuading me. I purchased my first road bike and started training. I quickly learned that cycling, compared to running and swimming, was by far my favourite of the three disciplines.

After I completed the triathlon, I knew I had found something that I loved.

Cycling in the real world

After leaving University, cycling wasn’t just my go-to exercise for fitness, but also for adventures that have gifted me some of my best memories.

Standouts? The Paris to London 24-Hour Cycle Challenge to support my dad while he battled prostate cancer, and the Cycling Tour of the Netherlands. These trips made me experience highs that are impossible to replicate.

Credit: Vivi Nation

I felt the Tour of the Netherlands, a country known for its cycling-friendly culture, was an excellent example of the magic of the great outdoors.

The scenery was breathtaking, the people were amazing, the roads were made for cycling, and the experience of seeing a country by bike was far superior to a car.

Plus, the sense of achievement having cycled around Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Rotterdam was something that will live long in my memory.

And that feeling was precisely why I loved the Paris to London cycle challenge. Obviously, I was motivated by personal circumstances, but the team I joined and the overall experience (which was a success) was genuinely one of the best things I’ve ever accomplished. From the team’s spirit throughout the ride to the support we were showered with at the finish line… It was epic.

Since finding my love for cycling, I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in cycle tours around Europe, mass-participation events like the Prudential RideLondon, as well as more serious sportives. And every time I get on my bike, I feel energized; alive.

The 2020 Prudential RideLondon route. Credit: PrudentialRideLondon

Cycling today

Today, cycling is more of a day-to-day activity.

Not only does it help me to remain fit, but it also saves money by biking to work and improves my productivity. It is a way of life. It’s ingrained into my routine, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I ran my first marathon last year so running overtook cycling as my focus, but it is cycling that is the exercise I truly enjoy more than anything else.

It pains me when I speak to people who see cycling as elitist and imagine that you have to own an expensive bike and wear tight lycra. It’s just not true! One of the best things about cycling is that it’s so accessible and easy to start for anyone.

While starting is easy, adding cycling to your routine is more complicated. But the joy of cycling is worth it. I do my best, most lucid thinking when on the bike. And from a social point of view, the cycling community is like no other.


Originally published at https://www.treadbikely.com on February 24th, 2020.

Chris Smith
Founder of Vivi Nation, sports enthusiast, occasional triathlete, keen cyclist and optimistic Liverpool FC fan.