For the uninitiated, many moons ago a cycling blog, Velominati, began assembling an extensive list of of rules they deem the complete canon of cycling etiquette. “The Rules” are uncanny in that they’re at the same time funny, poignant and casually inspiring for any self-proclaimed cyclist.
I don’t need to go into the full list here but will recommend you do so in order to brush up on what you may be doing wrong or right while on the bike. Having just looked over the list myself the other day a few of them caught my attention, in particular Rule #6: Free your legs and your mind will follow.
Your mind is your worst enemy. Do all your thinking before you start riding your bike. Once the pedals start to turn, wrap yourself in the sensations of the ride – the smell of the air, the sound of the tires, the feeling of flight as the bicycle rolls over the road.
The idea, for all strokes of cyclists, is easily referential. Ordinarily, the only thing stopping you from riding your bike is you yourself. I mentioned this same thing today to a friend I was riding with: I never regret a bike ride. Even if I’m hating the ride, it eventually comes full circle and I end up stoked, or if not stoked, at least not nearly as angsty as I was prior to or during the ride.
It’s so interesting and predictable a sensation that if you’ve a strong discipline for riding regularly it’s the bait that hooks you again and again, despite how inspired or motivated you are to get on the bike. Once you overcome the challenge of saddling up and getting moving, you’re coasting down a mental downhill with all the pointless shit that was clouding your head simply disappearing.
It’s a meditative process, that by each stroke of the pedals brings you closer to some sort of nirvana or at least a dopamine fueled high in which all the basic things you normally take for granted pop out and catch your attention. Before long you’re just floating, an ongoing picture show of sensations and memories and the thought that you nearly didn’t go for a ride because of whatever reason seems a mistake.
It’s affirmation that sometimes, thinking it through isn’t all its chocked up to be. Sometimes the repetitive signals being broadcast from your reptile brain to “just go” will help you accomplish more mentally than you’d imagine.