How did cycling become so important for to me...
I got myself an MTB to commute to work some 6-7 years ago. Then I also re-discovered how FUN it is to ride a bike.
I've always struggled to find motivation to stay healthy before that purchase, but after that it's been easier. I certainly didn't turn athletic overnight, but in small increments. First, I found colleagues and neighbors who wanted to have occasional bike trips, and then a lot of us signed up for a major MTB race in Norway. This called for a more planned cycling schedule.
When my bike (that was a cheap no-name MTB with poor equipment) broke down during this race, I decided to buy a road racer to replace it.
I used this bike mostly for the joy of group- and solo rides, but no races. Last summer, that changed. I was challenged to sign up for a local road race of 210 km from the coast and up in the Norwegian mountains, and I took the challenge. Before this challenge, I would normally take my bike out of the garage around April/May, and have no training done since September. But since this race is at the end of May, I suddenly had to find a way to stay in shape over the winter. So I joined a local cycling club, and followed their schedule for indoor training after season end in 2008.
Suddenly, I came to know a lot of people who shared my passion for everything related to cycling. This made it far easier for me to endure spinning and gym (I have always detested it...).
At the same time, I've come to appreciate the efforts of Pro cyclists even more, because I feel I can somewhat imagine their pain and joy more on a personal level.
So this got me into cycling, but here's what keeping me:
1) I can't imagine any other ways of staying fit that appeals to me
2) I wouldn't have half the number of friends that I have now
3) I can't imagine a better way to enjoy the Norwegian nature
4) I love the combination of team feeling and individuality when racing and training with my club or with my friends
5) I get to know the most obscure little roads in my neighborhood, and not even my wife that - as opposed to me - is born and raised here can find more nice picnic spots
6) I managed to quit smoking due to an urge to become a better cyclist, and I know I'll fall right down to smoking again if I can't be a cyclist
Have to add in the end: Is there really any sounds more beautiful than...
A) The sound of a starting field simultaneously clicking their shoes into their pedals, or
B) The sound of a hundred wheels rolling over the road in 40 km/h?
I don't think so