Saturday, November 20, 2010

the "zen" of biking

Biking as a sport is loads of fun and often done in groups or bike club rides. Most folks like to bike with other people. Most folks bike for social companionship. Few ever bike alone as it looks odd if you are out there by yourself. Most folks who pass you think, gee, poor slob, she has no friends. She is all alone on the roads. How dangerous!

Well, this year, after biking exclusively with other folks, I got the courage to do it alone. I carry a cell phone, I can change a bike tire and I tend to bike on roads that are familiar to me. I make a route and off I go. After a full season of "alone biking" I have discovered it is a different activity when out by yourself.

It is completely silent. No one is talking. You tend to look around more and notice small stuff. You see birds, plants, trees, flowers and small animals. You hear the wind and the sounds of leaves falling. You get to a place where you are no longer biking but just enjoying the outdoors around you. You forget about your heart rate, your speed, your pace and all the stuff many weekend warriors worry about. Your mileage is not important. The only thing you want to do is to be out there; pedaling and moving quietly along the country roads.

It becomes more "zen" like. I imagine many runners feel this same way as running tends to be a singular activity. Solo biking is relaxing and quiets the mind. Far better than sitting at home watching TV or sweating away in a spinning class. In a spin class, all you think about is how many calories you are burning.

Solo biking is worth it. You have to do a lot of it to get to the point that you stop fretting over the cars and getting buzzed or taunted. That all slides away and you reach a point where it is just you and the road and your bike.

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