cycling is a strange hobby. the work is the whole thing. most hobbies might have a work element - gardening requires a lot of digging, golf requires walking (if you play it that way), running requires.. well, running. but the work is a means. a gardener gets his garden, the golfer gets the ocasional birdie, the runner gets a sticker on his car and a crappy t-shirt. the cyclist gets to ride around in a circle thinking about how fat he is.
i like cycling in the same way i like hearing about other people's problems. i like to take in everything - listen, look, wonder how it applies to me - and then, on occasion, actually do something about it. it's easier when you're not actually riding, but eventually you get to feeling apathetic.
six bicycles live in my garage. one of which i ride. one i bought and thought i'd ride with friends, only to later realize we were more like acquaintances. one i bought with the thinking that i'd race, then i raced and realized i'd much rather ride to the grocery store. then i didn't do that either. one i bought at a garage sale, disassembled and bought parts for, and then realized i liked it better the way i'd bought it. one i bought back when i was in college. it was cheap and got the use it deserved. one i helped buy for my girlfriend. i took her on one of those casual 40 mile rides that first-timers have to be taught to love. as it turns out, i'm a horrible teacher.
if you believe the professionals you'll learn that there's glory in speed and suffering. you get your name on the bike when you're fast. they take your photo when you're suffering. but who suffers more? the 120 pound pro? or the 200 pound amateur? the suffering is the same, but the photo is a lot uglier.