May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and the road downhill all the way to your door. — Irish Blessing
As an American of Irish descent, I am very familiar with the traditions usually associated with St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity. Today, St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. is associated with wearing green, participating in parades, watching soccer, listening to Celtic music, and of course, consuming (lots of) Irish beer.
This year, three of my buddies and I decided to infuse a new and improved tradition to the old Irish holiday: fitness. Specifically, cycling fitness. So, armed only with our commuting bikes, we departed at 8:30 a.m. on our First Annual St. Patrick’s Day Ride for the Irish (aka Looking For Any Excuse To Ride Our Bikes). We elected to do an “urban assault” ride into downtown Austin, knowing that our trek would not only take us into the heart of various St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, but also into the remnants of the last weekend of SXSW (South By Southwest), Austin’s premier music festival, which occurs every Spring.
By the end of the day, the final tally included four different downtown Irish venues, crowds of interesting people, green everywhere, outstanding music, and a few urban miles on our bikes. The day had it’s traditional moments for sure, but spending it with good friends on top of our bikes is a new tradition I hope we can repeat.
Who says you can’t teach old dogs new tricks!