We love hearing from readers, especially readers who are as passionate about mountain biking as we are. Alexis, 13, of Biddeford, Maine, sent us this poem that beautifully summarizes why we do what we do. Thanks Alexis.
Alexis is a member of the Biddeford chapter of Trips For Kids. Operating in the United States, Canada and Israel, Trips For Kids has opened the world of cycling to over 100,000 at-risk youth since 1988 through mountain bike rides and Earn-A-Bike programs. The more than 80 Trips For Kids chapters combine lessons in confidence building, achievement and environmental awareness through the development of practical skills, and the simple act of having fun.
I know the surrounding woods like a life long friend, the squawking birds and wind rushing through the trees.
The bright leaves that littler the trail are like a collage of autumn colors, they are beautiful.
I start out on the trail, riding hard.
All I can see is the trail in front of me, all I can hear is the pounding of my heart, all I know is this moment, right now.
I hammer down on the pedals, tree branches whip at my arms and legs.
I concentrate hard, tearing through the woods, excited and anticipating what the trail leads to next.
My wrists are numb, my legs are aching, but I don’t care anymore.
The happiness and freedom that the trail brings me overrides the pain of the moment.
I grip the handlebars tight; dig in deep on the longest hill in the world.
My whole body aches, but I will myself forward, dig deeper, power hard, almost to the top.
Here I come! Screaming down the other side, exhilarated, terrified, gaining speed, sure to crash.
Flying over the winding path, I let off the brakes and just float.
I feel light as a feather, it was worth the climb.
Smoothly avoiding rocks and branches, I am flying around the twisting path, gravity is on my side now.
I feel so happy, banging around out on the trails, like I was born to do this, and nothing else.
The smells and sounds of the woods fill my nose and ears, leaves swishing, water rushing, the smell of trees.
I feel like there should be nothing more to the world than this.