When I got asked to write a story about biking I thought … ‘What makes me qualified to write a story? I’m no big shot racer. I don’t have a huge life changing event that warrants a story.’ So I sat on the idea, pondering over a couple of months about what I could say. As those months passed, through observing my life, how I spend my time, who I spend my time with, what brings me joy and even where I live, it all started to fit together in telling a story I hadn’t seen. What started as a way to get some exercise and adventure has now become one of the most predominant things in my life. It’s become woven into almost every element of my life. I live in Rotorua, NZ’s mountain biking mecca. I live on the only street in Rotorua that backs straight onto the Redwoods Park – I ride out my back gate to head up the trails. My partner likes biking so much she used to compete in 24hr solo MTBing (I know, its crazy). My favourite possession is my bike, a bright green RIP Niner. Most of the friends I have made since moving to Rotorua 3 years ago I met through riding or I spend time riding bikes with. My favourite thing to do in my spare time is, you guessed it, mountain biking. And I spend Wednesday nights leading social rides for Revolve Rotorua, a women’s riding club to encourage others to get out and ride. How had I not seen this story of how important mountain biking has become to me? It think because it’s happened so gradually. Because it’s so much more than a way of getting some exercise and adventure. It provides a way to connect with people. It could be through a conversation with someone at work who you learn also rides. Before you know it you have made a new riding buddy. It provides a way to connect with nature…riding through the trees, hearing the birds, smelling the forest. And lastly, it provides connection with a community. You can rock up to any town or country and when you start chatting to a fellow MTBer you have immediate common ground. MTBing has given me so much. I still get a silly smile on my face some nights when I am riding home after a great ride. The kind of smile I imagine I had when I was 9 or 10 riding my old hand-me-down BMX, when I felt like anything was possible. So if you feel like you need to connect, you know what you need to do.
I Ride: Lisa Fraser of Rotorua