Like every good adventure, this one starts with a bike. A year ago, I got a Firefly bicycle and it took over my brain. I rode it almost every day, and the days I didn’t, I looked longingly at it while pretending to read a book (sorry, Saul Bellow). At work, I kept it in a cubicle next to my desk and every time I walked past it, my heart would leap a little bit thinking about where we would go.
But a lot of the time I was riding by myself. Or I rode with—and usually far behind—people who had different goals, such as dropping their friends. I thought there were probably other people like me out there who planned their weekends around lunch stops, scenic vistas, swimming holes, and routes that pushed their limits, but I didn’t know how to find them.
The cycling world can be equal parts awesome and insular, especially for women. The Firefly Adventure Team is an effort to capture everything addictive and thrilling about riding a bike, minus the parts that can be intimidating or off-putting. The team is, by design, eclectic. The six of us have varying levels of expertise and skill and different motivations for riding in the first place. What we have in common is a passion for riding bikes with other people and a compulsive need to get outside. We are all competitive, but this isn’t a racing team—we’re merely out there trying to have a way better time than everyone else.
THE FIRST RULE OF THE ADVENTURE TEAM
Everyone builds their own bike.
A bicycle can seem so much less mysterious and daunting once you’ve braced the top tube against your shoulder and reamed the head tube on a lathe. Punch the serial numbers into the frame and it feels irrevocably yours.
Once you’ve installed the components at an all-night party in the midst of an epic snowstorm, you are way better equipped to know what to do if, in mid-adventure, something goes awry. Everyone on this team has actually hugged their bike at some point during its development. It’s part of the demystifying process. It also happens to feel completely natural to embrace a piece of metal after you’ve spent so much time planning it and helping create it.
The only other rule of the
Adventure Team is to ride.
We have plans for a great year on the trails, on the roads, up tough climbs, and to delicious meals. We’ll definitely get muddy. We may get lost. We’ll eat so much lunch. We’ll do it again. The world looks different from bike level and so do other people, and we’re hoping you’ll follow along and come join us on our adventures.