I started cycling as an adult 12 years ago.

I got into it as a way to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. However, after my first-time riding (after not riding since I was a kid), I fell deeply in love with cycling.

Throughout the years, I eventually found hiking, kayaking, and other outdoor recreational activities to enjoy. I still loved cycling, though.

But over time, I started losing interest in cycling for two reasons:

(1) I was primarily a road cyclist and people just don’t know how to drive anymore. Most drivers are entitled and think cyclists shouldn’t be on the road at all. It’s almost too dangerous to road bike.

(2) My mountain bike is heavy and isn’t the best for riding on the rail trail which is a safe from the fools on the road.

So, because of those reasons, I started biking less and, in all honesty, it was depressing.

Then I signed up for a gravel bike race in the Shawnee National Forest called the Dirty South Roubaix. Friends of mine have been putting it on for years.

I planned to ride it using my mountain bike, but a local bike shop manager suggested I get a gravel bike. And that’s what I did. And I rode the heck out of it and regained my love of cycling. I did the race. I didn’t win anything which I knew I wouldn’t, but I wasn’t last either and I finished.

I also had fun doing it.

My new bike is a 2024 Trek Checkpoint ALR 5 AXS.

Me on my new gravel bike.

The frame is aluminum, but I wanted that because it can hold more weight and I eventually want to load it down with bags and go bikepacking.

Disc brakes are nice.

The AXS is really interesting. It isn’t an eBike by any means but the gearing and shifting is electronic. It’s smooth.

There is a dropper seat on it. I’ve yet to figure out what it’s really good for.

It’s an awesome bike.

It got me back into cycling.

I ride it every chance I get.

I’ll be riding it today!