This post was written after a recent cycling trip to the northwest.

I live in the wilderness. Oh, my town may have all the modern conveniences like shopping, schools, an airport and interstate highway, but in many ways it may as well be 1000 miles from civilization.  Among the things you just can’t get here are a decent meal, locally brewed beer or a choice in coffee.  There are restaurants, but the quality of food in local establishments leaves a lot to be desired.  The nearest brew pub is probably in Las Vegas and Starbucks is your coffee house.  There is one other thing that I really miss by living in southern Utah and that is a mature and developed cycling community.  We have a small local cycling club and there are good riders among them, but their experience and vision of cycling are limited.  It is all race all the time and there is little civility demonstrated among riders.  Most of the members have not experienced cycling outside of Utah and at times they can be scary to ride with due to their lack of experience.

When I ride outside this area, particularly in the Northwest but also in some parts of California I see a different type of cycling practiced. It is somehow more civilized, a little more refined and the riders are more experienced.  Where in Utah, club rides are often a hammerfest, forced until every rider has been dropped and courtesy is regarded as weakness.  In the Northwest riders are often more genteel but still ride at a very high level.  Their riding skill is evident and you can feel safe when riding in their midst.  They will enjoy your company while riding but are also quite happy to go solo at anytime.  Courteous behavior is displayed both on and off the bike and if you need help it is offered freely. They do not brag about their abilities but instead let their legs do the talking.  For these riders the enjoyment of cycling is the reward, not an imaginary victory over a fellow rider who may not be racing.

I really enjoy my bicycle rides when I’m in the northwest and the company of the many fine local cyclists that I often meet.  I can only hope that someday with more experience and a little more worldliness that our local cycling community can mature to a comparable level.  Until that time I will have to find my cycling satisfaction in this area during my travels outside of Utah. When riding locally I shall probably remain a lone cyclist, riding in the wilderness.

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