If we’re very lucky and rediscover cycling when we’re older, the bike gets a chance to perform its miracle of liberation again. Just as the bike lets the child glimpse adulthood, so an adult on a bike can sightsee youth. The appeal is not, as it originally was, the magnificence of the distance we can achieve, but the intimacy of the trip. As adults, we might never ride our bikes farther than we drive to work (and certainly few of us ride our bikes farther than we could drive in a single day), but a simple five-mile spin through the local area can take us much further than we actually traveled. It’s not so much the unknown world that beckons as the freshness of the familiar world you’ve come to inhabit. You become acquainted with cracks in the road, with curbs, with dogs that confront you. You run your wheels across skittering leaves, drop your head and milk the speed of a fine downhill. Ride a bike around the region where you grew up and you can almost hear your mother calling you in for dinner.

— my introduction to The Noblest invention