It Doesn’t Stand Alone



The bike can’t stand alone. Without the rider, the bike flops to its side. It becomes a jumble of medal on the ground. In order for the bike to progress forward, the rider needs to exert a force on the cranks. There is a beautiful, reciprocal relationship between the rider and the bike.

The bike has many roles. These can include transporter, cargo carrier, exercise machine, leisure activity, boredom buster, friendship builder, and therapist, to name a few. Without the bike, none of those roles could be fulfilled. In addition, the rider also has a key role. The rider brings life to the “jumble of medal”. The rider controls the bike and makes it move. The rider chooses what the bike will do. The rider is the bikes “personality”, if you will.

How does this relate to mental well-being? It demonstrates the power of reciprocal relationships. Every person on the planet is engaged in some sort of social connection. These could be good or bad connections, and everything in between. It’s been demonstrated throughout history that socialization is key to feelings of well-being.

Unfortunately, socialization does not come natural to everybody. Some people struggle with social anxiety, depression, or other barriers that prevent meaningful socialization. The good news? With some effort, socialization can be learned and revitalized. I believe that we can use the relationship between a person and their bike as a good model, especially for people who need to start slow. Using this model they can learn the importance of reciprocity, which is the foundation for any meaningful relationship. They will also learn that each party has different, but crucial roles to play. If done well, I believe that a person has the ability to harness meaningful, social relationships, starting with the bike.


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