How Did You Get Back Into Playing Outside?

It’s a great question. Maybe you never stopped. Me, I grew up building crappy lil’ jumps out of dirt or plywood propped up on any rise. And I played lots of soccer. That’s what got me outside. Plus, not having a tablet or smartphone.

As I got older, and as Pops got older, he got into road cycling once his recreational basketball career came to an end. Once I was old enough, I tagged along on road rides, eventually completing numerous Bike Rides Across Georgia, Cycle North Carolina, and doing the entire Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. That’s a lot of road.

One spring break in college, while on one of the above bike trips, I reflected on my current situation. My ass hurt, I was hot, trying not to get hit by cars, and I was spending it with middle-aged men (lovely people, for sure). My friends were deeply embedded in the other version of Spring Break - beaches, drinks, cavorting with the opposite sex. What was I doing with my life?


It may not have been that exact moment, but it was close, that I stopped road biking. A few years after college I quit playing soccer. Then I gained 25 pounds, although some may argue that I needed it.

I didn’t really ride a bike or run again for about 10 years, until Misfit Mountainerd Greg O asked me to join him on a ride. I dusted off the now vintage Pro-Flex, and out we went. Then I started running again, inspired by Mountainerd Tom Dub, to compete in The Winter Challenge Off-road Triathlon (always cool!). Since I was riding on trail, it made sense to run on trail. Because…wouldn’t you rather run and ride in the shade and not worry about getting hit by cars? And after wearing stupid-tight spandex jerseys and shorts for over a decade, I was ready for casual athletic clothing, and to not look like a total d-bag. (Not all road clothes are d-baggey, but, yeah, most).

So it is a rare occasion indeed that I will mount up on the skinny tires. It’s got to be special. This past weekend I had just the opportunity, as Pops talked me into riding the Five Boro Bike Tour. Epic is an understatement, as you get to ride up 6th Avenue in Manhattan, through Central Park, then the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. 40 miles with absolutely no traffic due to closed streets. Within a sea of 30,000 cyclists, the camera still managed to find a #stankface.

Thanks to Pops I got into cycling to begin with. Thanks to my friends, I got back into playing outside.

How about you? How did you get back into playing outside?

The Five Boro Bike Tour silent recap

Matthew Davis