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Bikes, balance, and life

Posted in: Blog
By Zack Vestal
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Bikes, balance, and life

For some, bikes are just another pastime, for others they are a training tool. But for us weekend warriors its a way of life; a common ground that unites all kinds of people from all walks of life. More than a few of my best friendships have evolved over the love of our two wheeled antics, but what is it that sucks us all in? One of my closest friends is double my age but our shared love of bikes has spawned a great friendship. We even went to Whistler a few years ago and I swear to this day we talked for both of the 10 hour flights and the entire week we were gone! I don’t know what we were yammering on about at times but I bet it was bike related!

I recently read another blog talking about the bike/life balance. It was an interesting read for me personally because I’m guilty of letting bikes dictate my life. I make everything from work to social events fit in with whatever bike plans I’ve already made. I’m happy living like this because for me bikes are life. They give me direction and identity. It’s like a drug, I need it to keep me on the straight and narrow. For me a good solo ride can be cleansing and really help me re-focus the mind ready for the next week ahead. A good race gives me that sense of satisfaction and achievement reminding me why I got up so early on those winter mornings for a training session before work. Travelling to new places in search of fresh trail provokes a sense of adventure!

I guess as far as the balance goes then it’s circumstantial. I’m lucky enough to have a very supporting girlfriend and immediate family which probably lets me get away with too much too often!

There’s just something unique about bikes. What other sport can you go and practice or race with the worlds best athletes in your sport? I remember my Mum explaining to my Grandad that me practicing with Steve Peat was like a football kid having a game with David Beckham in a bid to make him understand why they were happy to invest so much time and money into me racing a mountain bike. I’m still not sure he was completely convinced but it definitely bought him round at least a little.

I can’t really remember a life before bikes nor can I imagine one without them. From the friendships made to the laces seen and experiences had, these two wheeled machines have truly enriched my life from a young age.
I’m in my 30th year this year which means I’ve been peddling for two decades now and racing for 17 years. But it wasn’t until 2019 that my dreams truly came true and I can definitively say I’ve been a professional athlete. A two decade old dream finally came true thanks to the support of the awesome team at Niner. For this opportunity I’ll be forever grateful.

What I’m trying to point out with that last sentence is that as awesome as it feels to finally realise a dream, it’s just a small detail in a huge picture! Sure it’s a very significant one for me and always will be, but if you take that away I’m still left with a mass of amazing memories, experiences and most importantly friends. Hopefully that mass will become a lifetime and I’ll keep on peddling until my legs won’t turn anymore.

Bikes are more than just a hobby. THEY’RE A WAY OF LIFE!

Thanks for reading.
Damian

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