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Mount Baker Bicycle Club

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Slow gravel

Margot Jerome | Published on 4/25/2024
In a world of fast downhill mountain biking and aerodynamic road racing, I do not belong. I ride slow gravel. When I get on my bike, I leave my worries behind and enter a world of possibilities. When I roll from the road onto the gravel, when I hear that first crunch, I switch from anxiety and self-doubt to healing and growth.

I ride the gravel paths around my town of Bellingham, WA where the city planners had the foresight to build 70+ miles of mostly gravel paths connecting me to every part of the city. I ride through the Hundred Acre Woods, along the Interurban Trail, past Arroyo Park and on down to Larrabee State Park. I ride up Padden Gorge and around the lake.  I ride through city center to find the trail around Whatcom Falls. I enjoy the quiet trails that take me through different neighborhoods, like the Connelly Trail from Fairhaven Parkway to the Arboretum. And I never ride more than about 10 miles per hour. I say hello to walkers. I notice the birds. Sometimes I share the trail with bunnies and deer. I feel connected to my community after a ride. 

I don’t use biking to get fit or stay strong – those are just happy byproducts of my riding. I use my bike to quiet my critical inner voice, to connect to the natural world and remind me that I’m only just a small part of that beautiful, complex system that supports life on this planet. After my rides I feel rejuvenated, happy and a part of something bigger. And for the moment, it reminds me that I am enough, just as I am.*

*with thanks to the writer of Bridget Jones Diary, Helen Fielding for my paraphrase of that wonder line.

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