I saw a story about a man who passed away while climbing Mount Baldy in Southern California this week. It wouldn’t have been newsworthy except for the fact that the man, Seuk Doo Kim of Culver City, had climbed the mountain more than 700 times. Last year alone, he climbed it more than one hundred days in a row.
I know lots of people who climb mountains. When I was younger, I climbed my share of them. I liked the way it made me feel. I craved the views from the summit, and there’s this magic feeling after hours of climbing when the land suddenly drops away in all directions. You literally feel as though you’re on top of the world. In a way, you are.
I never went back to most of the mountains I climbed. That’s tragic, in hindsight. It occurs to me that someone who climbs the same mountain every day is living at a whole different level. It’s not about bagging the peak. It’s about the journey and by all indications Mr. Kim really, really loved the journey.
The everyday element of Mr. Kim’s journey is very interesting to me. I’ve read a lot of books and it seems to me that the people who are happiest and most plugged into life have an every day discipline about them that isn’t so different than Seuk Doo Kim. Thomas Merton and the Dali Lama come to mind.
What does any of this have to do with cycling and Bike 5? Well, I think that choosing to ride a bicycle every day is a similar discipline to climbing Mt. Baldy or praying the Liturgy of the Hours. It doesn’t have to be five miles. It can be whatever you want it to be. It’s not the summit that matters. It’s the climb that counts. Get on a bike every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes, and magic will happen to you.
The National Bike Challenge starts on May 1. I’m not going to participate because I already ride everyday and the only person I’m interested in competing with is myself, but if you’re looking for an excuse or something to motivate you to ride your bicycle every day, this might be a great way to start.
Have a great weekend!