By: Bryan Moore
Growing up in a Fayette County farm town means two things for a kid: you need to make your own fun, and there’s no easy way to get around. The town in which I spent my formative years had no public transit; even sidewalks were scarce, and the only crosswalk signals around were for the frightening task of crossing Route 51. The distance between my house and places like Sampey Park or the Yough River – a minute or two by car – seemed insurmountable on foot. So when I decided I’d had enough of spending all my time inside on the farm, I knew I needed to get a bike.
Having a bike was a pragmatic decision for me (as a kid who was pretty averse to the idea of exercise, I saw it as more a necessary evil than anything else). But from the first time I hopped onto the seat, I knew cycling was going to be something much different from what I had expected. Pretty soon, I was holding “drag races” in my driveway with my little brother and spending all of my afterschool time learning how to take apart brakes and gearshifts using my stepdad’s wrenches in the garage. Once I graduated high school and my Walmart mountain bike was close to being on life support, I decided to use some of the graduation money gifted to me and put it towards an upgrade. I went to a real bike shop, spent some time looking around and riding test laps around the store, and finally decided on my Trek Dual Sport, a 21-speed hybrid perfect for navigating both bike trails and open road.
Nowadays, this bike is helping me finish my degree by being my main mode of transportation to my internship here at Venture Outdoors. It’s served as my go-to rec companion for over four years, and I couldn’t be happier with it. My bike is more than just a way to get around; anytime the stresses and anxieties of everyday life pile up a little too high, I know I can always pull my bike out, take a lap or two around the neighborhood, and feel the road fly past underneath my tires. Cycling has taken on a meditative quality to me; as long as I know my route, I can lose myself in the rhythms of the road and take in all the sights and sounds around me, whether they be the blooming trees of my hometown’s rural roads or the Magneto mural on busy Butler Street. Cycling may have started as just a way to get from Point A to Point B, but for me, it’s become part of who I am and my favorite way to go.