I like feeling a sense of community. I love being part of a community. Community in my mind is defined as a group of people with a common interest. My communities right now revolve around my family, my friends and the area we live. I enjoy few things more than sitting around with friends listening to cycling stories, talking about roads yet travelled and usually being the butt of jokes. I love the communities that I’m a part of.
The problem I have, the problem most of us have, is time. There are only so many hours in a day and so many days in a week. Most of us dedicate the majority of our time to the community described as “our families”. Absolutely the time with family is without a doubt the most important community any of us can be a part of. The time is justified. The time is needed. The time is treasured. I do have free moments at the end of the day however when the kids are asleep and Kerri is reading that my mind drifts to those other friendships I have. Usually it’s at 9pm or so at night. I have 30 minutes, not 3 hours free. What I try to do to keep those other friendships alive is check social media. Yes, social media can be evil. No, social media is not a replacement for sitting at the pub with friends, sitting around a fire pit with friends or going on a social ride with friends. BUT…it does help fill that void until the next outing. I have cycling friends I only see in person at race events. I have church friends I see once a week…mostly. I have family I see only on holidays. Various reasons but it comes back to lack of time. Social media, when not used as a soapbox to promote ones own agenda…can be wonderful for filling this void.
A few weeks ago I created…something to help myself and hopefully others who love cycling. We all have our own definitions of “cycling” but mine is basically…having fun on a bike. Period. You can ride around your neighborhood. Ride around your town. Ride around your county, your state, the world…but just remember to Have Fun. Life is dramatic enough as it is…when on a bike…have, FUN. I created something called “The Casual Cyclist”. I went with the name because that’s what 99% of us are, Casual Cyclists. Sometimes we pretend to be more, dream to be more but at the end of the day please don’t forget, we do this for fun. Keep it casual.
The Casual Cyclist is a collection of a Twitter account, an Instagram account, a blog and most importantly a community minded Facebook page. I manage it all. I try to keep it light hearted. I try to keep posts consistent. My goal is that when you have 30 minutes free, 15 minutes free, 5 minutes free and your mind drifts to that “other” community of yours, you have a quick place to check. My goal is that you will share your memories, your pictures, your stories. My goal is to help in some small way help to continue to grow and strengthen this community of friends and cyclists that I’m a part of. I don’t care about drama. Drama will not be tolerated and I alone can control that “delete post” button. I like that power. We’re not a big enough community to be split by silly things. I’m looking at you Jeff Young and your lack of handle bar mustache. We ALL want that thing back! Please have fun with The Casual Cyclist. Please help me grow the sport of cycling. Please help me strengthen that friendship bond. Have fun with it. Have. Fun.
I want to hear cycling History. I never get to hear stories anymore from Mike Wise, Gary Bacon, Matt Brown, Randy Smith and countless other locals who have been doing this a long time. I just can’t be everywhere. I’d love to hear those stories. I’d love to preserve those stories. I’d love to see those old pics. Tell me your stories no matter how small you think they are. Imagine yourself sitting around that campfire, on that bar stool or in your lawn chairs. I think we ALL know I can post pictures of myself all day long. Selfie king. I’m happy to be the butt of jokes if they are from friends. I’d rather reveal too much than not enough. My friends know I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’ve come to accept that fact. It’s cool. It’s me. I’m not changing. I hope you enjoy The Casual Cyclist. I hope you have fun. I love having you in my community!
Most of all, Keep it Casual. Please.