I ride for the solitude. I would have to guess that of the 10,000 plus kilometers I've rode in my lifetime, somewhere in the neighbourhood of 90-95% of that has been solo. That's not because I'm against group riding or anti-social or anything. I just enjoy the solitude that being out on the road by myself brings. I enjoy the time it allows me to think. I'm not a spiritual person, but I enjoy the inner peace that cycling alone brings me.
I ride because I'm good at it. This sounds like bragging perhaps, but I was once good enough at it to be considered for the provincial cycling team for the Canada Summer Games. I remember my first race, a 30 lap criterium that I led for the first 29 1/2 laps after a solo break from the start line, only to be caught and passed with half a lap to go. I also remember having enough left in the tank to take 2nd in a sprint after dropping to 3rd on the final straight. While those racing days are long gone, I'm still good enough at cycling to be able to ride 76.5 km by myself in a little over 3 hours, and there's a certain level of personal satisfaction that goes with that.
I ride because I remember the pride I felt on the day not so long ago that I first let go of my daughter's seat and she rode her two-wheeler without my help for the first time.
I ride because my father, at the young age of 52, had a mild heart attack and his road to better health included riding a bike. I can't recall having ever seen my father on a bike before that, and I'm happy to say that he's still going strong at 81. I ride because I still want to be riding when I'm 81.
I ride because I've been struck by cars twice but remain undeterred to be on my bike regardless of the risk involved. I remember after my first and more serious run-in with a car losing most of the skin on my forearm (now you know where the name of my blog comes from), getting a nasty ding on the forehead, and the attending doctor shaking his head in disbelief that I was still alive.
I ride because it allows me to challenge myself, to push my personal limits of endurance, to race against myself. But most of all, I ride because I love every minute of it. There is nowhere else I'd rather be than on my bike.