1. Connecting with nature. Nothing says "I love getting up close and personal with nature" more than a wasp stuck in your sports bra while barreling down a steep and very busy mountain road at 50 kilometers an hour.
2. Exploring new areas. There is something indescribably special about cycling an extra 15 kilometers up the wrong mountain pass after cycling 60 kilometers already. In those moments all I can think about is how lucky I am to be exploring such a beautiful area and how much I would love to smack the guy who gave me directions.
3. Adrenaline rush. Clipping along downhill with a steady headwind as a semi-truck speeds past you causing your bike to hop to the side in a few heart-stopping "Oh my God, I'm really going to die" moments is probably my favorite way to spend a Friday afternoon.
4. Relaxation You know how relaxing it is when you're scared out of your mind cycling down Alpe d'Huez and you would love to stop but are unable to pry your fingers from the brakes? Yeah, me neither.
5. Quality time with boyfriend. Sure we could have a romantic dinner followed by a long moonlit stroll through the park. Or we could spend a day together with helmet hair, gnats stuck in our teeth, covered in salty residue from sweat and and grunting monosyllables as we pant for oxygen while pedaling our bikes up a 10% grade.
6. Empowering. Being unable to unclip from your pedals and toppling over in front of a crowd of competent cyclists is a real confidence-builder.
7. Chafing. It builds character. I'm also single-handedly supporting Johnson & Johnson.
8. Oblivious Pedestrians. I love it when I'm cruising along at 30 kilometers per hour down the bike path and a pedestrian steps out right in front of me. Slamming on my brakes so suddenly that I risk spinning out and then getting yelled at for riding my bike in the bike lane is about as funny as getting hit in the head with a hand pump.*
9. Bike Grease. I've never been a fan of that whole "my clothes are clean" look, which is why I'm glad that pretty much every item of clothing I own now has bike grease smeared somewhere across it. My shoes have bike grease stains. My calves and arms have bike grease stains. The bathtub and floor have bike grease stains. Hell, even the cat has bike grease stains. Bike grease is in these days.
10. Looking Good. Spandex shorts with foam wedged into the crotch? That's hot.
*I would never advocate the use of violence because someone steps out in front of you on your bike. Unless you're racing or you're doing a time trial or you're having a really good day on your bike and you're in the zone. **
**Apparently I'm not supposed to have caveats about hitting people with a hand pump in my disclaimer about not hitting people with a hand pump.