How many miles does one have to ride to meet the minimum crazy threshold? Has anyone figured it out?
As a randonneuring arts practitioner I will tell you I am still searching for the answer. In some cases, anything over 100 miles will label you as crazy and in others the limit may be set higher.
I’ve heard my share of “crazy” in reference to the bicycling I like to do, and the search term “randonneur crazy people” even led someone to this blog. I certainly hope I did not disappoint and that all posts revealed the crazy in me.
“You’re crazy for riding so far.”
“You-all are crazy. Don’t you know we have cars now?”
“You rode here from where? You’re crazy!”
Perhaps these kinds of comments could be internalized as back-handed compliments. I often choose to think of them this way. It’s certainly easier than accepting the statement and planning a visit to the local sanitarium when the ride ends.
In most cases, I don’t have (or don’t want to take) the time to fully discuss this whole crazy bicycling business, but part of me is often tempted to explore it.
The simple response is that it’s really not so crazy as you might think.
One of the many appeals of randonneuring is that it is not an activity that only physically gifted athletes can do. A lot of people experience success in randonneuring, and they are quite normal. I mean, you know what I mean. They have no outstanding superhero physical attributes. See Exhibit A: me.
Despite being somewhat active as a kid, I did not grow up as an athlete type. After college, I spent several years living a mostly sedentary lifestyle, driving almost everywhere.
Only when I moved to Washington, D.C., did I begin to build my fitness by running and bicycling. I began to wonder how far I could go, which led me to running marathons and randonneuring.
I’m not suggesting a person can hop on a bike and easily ride 150 miles if he or she has not been working up to it, but I am saying it is not the crazy that people think.
If one has good health, the necessary gear, the desire, and the time, he or she can be a randonneur. There is no secret or elusive trick to randonneuring. It’s the act of getting out there, putting the miles in, and doing it.
You see? Randonneuring is not so crazy after all. Or perhaps it still is, but not in the unattainable way first thought.
Our bodies are capable of doing more than we know. We can go so much further than we imagine if we only open ourselves to possibility.