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.
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!
“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.
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
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.
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