By Ambassador Chris Hornbecker

We are lucky enough to be able to put ourselves in situations to be surrounded by trees. Are you really seeing the trees around you for what they are? There’s a whole artform that celebrates each tree’s uniqueness. Bonsai is the art of shaping and nurturing a tree or shrub into a desired appealing shape. There is a fine balance of understanding the plant’s needs and how to help manipulate it’s growth. How do we collaborate with the tree to find a path that will take it to a beautiful place? To get there, wire is wrapped around the branches to encourage growth in certain directions. Cutting and trimming controls where and what direction the growth will take place. Repotting and tilting the tree while sometimes bolting it down to a wooden rig to change the direction it’s growing. There are many tools that can be used to achieve these goals, but the main tool to understand how to use is time. Bonsai are living art. They are always changing and evolving albeit over a longer period of time. They are battling the constant ups and downs life throws at them. They endure because they live for that growth and because they are being helped to become the most beautiful shape and form they can be.

What does it take to create our own beautiful shapes and forms on a bicycle? Every rider is unique and has their own original riding style so we need to learn to embrace and discover our own style. We can work on shaping that style but it takes technique, time, practice and patience. Collaborate with that inner voice or gut feeling. Nevermind that self doubting voice in your head, stick with and trust your gut feeling. Listen to that feeling and push the progression slowly. With this comes our own ups and downs. We endure scrapes, bruises, strains, torn ligaments and broken bones. We install screws and metal plates to keep our bones straight and we train to overcome our injuries and limitations. Everyday we can choose to take steps to wire our own branches and encourage our biking to grow the direction we want it to grow.