- When there is a problem, I can fix it.
Bicycles absolutely require maintenance, however, with a little instruction a bike can be very easy to fix on your own. Unlike a car most of the bike’s parts are exposed, which allows us to easily diagnose a problem. Some common issues are flat tires, squeaky brakes, and broken chains, all of which can be repaired in less than an hour. At the very least you can rig a fix until you can get your bike to the shop. Learning how to fix your bike puts you back in control. You are not at the mercy of any mechanic. Another benefit is that bikes are usually pretty cheap to repair. Check out my resources page for some good links to self-help sites. There is nothing YouTube can’t teach.
- I choose the destination
There are no constraints to where the bike can take you. Whether it is the gym, a friend’s house, or another state, the bike will get you there. There are no tickets to purchase, no tanks to fill, and no stops to get off at. The bike goes wherever you want. There is something completely relieving about this idea. If you have ever been to an airport or bus station, you can recall the anxiety that develops. Where do I check my bags? How long are the lines? Where do I buy tickets? etc. Forget the answers to those questions. Hop on you bike and take control of your travel.
- Stress! What Stress?
Stress is inevitable if you are a human being on planet earth. Stress can attack us from all angles. Stress can drown us like a sinking ship. We often feel helpless to this heavy weight. The bad news is we will continue to face stress as long as we live. The good news is we can absolutely gain control over the stress. We can even use stress to help make us a better person. Riding your bike is a way to overcome the stress, figure some stuff out, and implement a game plan. Riding gives you time to be alone and process your thoughts. Although taking a step back just to think may seem more harmful than good, it is in fact very productive. It allows us to develop an effective strategy rather than flying by the seat of out pants. Check out Brain Traffic for an in-depth explanation on biking and stress.
- My bike, my pace
If I want to go on an all out sprint and burn off significant calories I can do that. If I want to go on a romantic night ride around Central Park I can do that. You choose how to ride. You have complete control over the style of riding as well as the goal of the ride. Knowing that you have control over many domains through your bike is liberating. So….just ride.
- I am emotional, but that’s ok. I got this!
We will cycle through many emotions as human beings. Some of these are fantastic and others are uncomfortable. If we are experiencing emotions such as anger or sadness we may attempt to suppress them. We can try to ignore them and move about our day, but it is my experience that this does not work. We can never truly move through an emotional state unless it is faced head on. So how do we do that? Good question. It is different for everyone, but if you like cycling as much as I do you’re in luck. If you would like to gain control over those emotions I would encourage you to go for a ride and just be mindful. If you are feeling overwhelmed I would suggest going for a ride to reflect on your stress. I would also encourage you to do this with any other emotion. Being in the moment and being mindful of our emotions allows us to develop an unbelievable understanding of who we are. It will help us grow and develop. Again, the bike is the perfect vehicle to find that time to practice mindfulness and regain control. Go ride.