Bikes and Resiliency: Bike and Brain’s First Guest Post

Two different people, in two different states, with two different connections to Bike and Brain have written what is below. In fact, the two guest writers, Keith Rich and Natalie Pacelli do not even know each other.

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Keith crossing the finish line at Drops 2 Hops 2013

Below, Keith describes his first major bike accident. Natalie writes about resiliency through the lens of a school social worker. On the surface these two guest writers seem to be describing completely different topics. However, their words correlate considerably. The correlation will be described after you have developed your own opinions. Go ahead, read on!

Keith’s Accident

“I bike in Philadelphia, which according to bicycling.com is the 17th most bike-friendly city in America.

Using a bike to commute through a city can sometimes be a challenge. There are always tons of cars, buses, pedestrians, and depending on the city a lack of bike lanes. Throw a recurring issue of potholes and exposed, unused trolley tracks and you’ve got yourself a pretty hazardous road to travel on.

I suffered my first big accident in July 2014. While biking, I encountered an unmarked ditch and hit the pavement headfirst. It was the worst injury I’ve had to this point requiring stitches inside and outside of my lip, a root canal, and a few other procedures to fix.

The accident affected me both physically and mentally. I still actually haven’t completely recovered. The scar on my lip from the accident will likely be there for the rest of my life. Although I was off the bike for a little while recovering, there was no way this crash was going to keep me off the bike forever.

Riding my bike gives me a feeling of being in control of my movement through the city and allows me to get where I need to go on my own accord. During that time I was off my bike I felt constrained and frustrated that I had to use unreliable public transportation to get around the city. Before I knew it, I was back to riding although it was a little different this time. I ride with more awareness now, in anticipation of any potholes or ditches that come out of nowhere. Even though those hazards are out there, it’s still not enough to keep me from traveling freely on my bike.

Cities have been increasingly improving biking conditions with the addition of more bike lanes. Hopefully this continues to happen, so that biking can become more accessible and allow more people to ride without fear of injury.”

– The words of Keith Rich- Riding fixed in Philly on the regular

Human Resiliency: Through the Eyes of a School Social Worker

“When we see those we love experience pain, our brains trigger our own sense of pain. Through an experience that causes trauma or grief, one can develop a sense of gratitude or compassion. Developing these ideals contributes to our overall well-being and happiness.

Natalie Pacelli, LMSW

When our brain is busy in passion-filled or stimulating experiences, we feel happier. Our ability to bounce back after a traumatic event is determined by our own protective factors (i.e., problem solving skills, self-esteem, ability to form relationships, temperament, sense of humor, attachment to parents, parent support, understanding of rules and consequences, participation in altruistic or creative activities). Our exposure to continued stressors, such as work, anxiety, depression, relationships, deadlines, and finances impact overall resiliency.

By becoming active, physically and mentally, we encourage ourselves to develop a better sense of connectedness and belonging to others. We are able to overcome difficult experiences or adversity based on our early experiences and protective factors in youth.”

 –The words of Natalie M. Pacelli, LMSW- Bettering our youth on the regular

Final Thoughts

In both writings there is a clear indication that resilience is a true human characteristic. This author was confident that Keith and Natalie would produce related experts even though they were unaware of one another. That is yet another indication that resilience is an innate trait.

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Keith at Drops 2 Hops 2013 (Second from the left)

Keith makes it obvious that he enjoys riding his bike. For him this is a “passion filled or stimulating experience”. It is an activity that he continues to pursue despite the accident he endured. Keith’s ability to move past the “physical and mental“ impacts of the accident is a clear display of resiliency. Somewhere along the line Keith developed “protective factors” that have strengthened his natural resiliency. Ultimately, Keith was able to overcome this incident and hop back into the saddle.

-Bike and Brain

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2 Responses to Bikes and Resiliency: Bike and Brain’s First Guest Post

  1. I like your spirit..keep riding!

    Yes, potholes are a big mess in city commuting..I live in India, and some roads are really scary. Potholes are known to take life of motorbike riders wearing helmets..so even if you are riding a bike..potholes can be lethal.

    Yes, attentiveness is essential, but the fact most potholes take us by surprise is equally true as well..I encountered one really scare pothole (in fact, series of them, while I was descending on a national highway (which is ditched up with big lorries)..I was at little over 60 kmph..gliding with my Hero Hawk (22 kg heavy iron wagon bike) I had gained up a good momentum..and suddenly, I cried out loud (literally loud) a shit scary shout as I saw them two feets away. it was 9pm in the night and there were no street lights too..I was having only my small (chinese) pocket torch hung up my front bike..

    I was miraculously saved..My handle sipped in a bit though..I thought it broke.but it didn’t.

    I later sat and analysed why wasn’t I killed. First, I didn’t pulled brakes when hitting them..That saved my tires from rupturing out..or the imbalance. Second, I lowered my body (with head-down) very close to the cycle body, lowering my centre of gravity, which greatly helped me from losing my balance..

    In all I took five large potholes on the lane…and there was a lorry behind me,..and I was pretty sure, that if at all, i came off this bike,..I would be under that 8 ton vehicle wheels.

    After that day, I never ever dared to do free glides on the freeways at night..I was gliding without putting brakes because I was tired like hell, as I was returning home that night doing my 170 km ride..So i felt like taking the benefit of slope without applying brakes..but that turned out to be a freaky choice.

    Like

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