Cycling is a System of Survival

When your stressed, people often say, “you need an outlet”. When life gets too hectic, you need someplace to go. Many comfort themselves with food, drugs or alcohol. Others turn to therapy and prescription meds. While I agree that the latter is the better solution, it does not work for everyone. I often wonder why things are the way they are. I ask myself, where did I go wrong? What could I have done differently? The more I think of things, the more stressed I get. It affects my sleep, my blood pressure, my work and most importantly, my relationships with family and friends.

I won’t discuss here what it is that haunts me, but I will say that it has not been easy the last few years. That said, I am grateful for who I am, who I have in my life and what I have as a result. And, I do realize that people go through worse things.

What’s kept me pushing forward, kept me centered and brought me some peace, even for just a few hours a day, is the same thing that makes my legs hurt, my heart race and my lungs gasp for air, cycling. The simple task of turning the pedals, flying down a hill, with the wind at your back or floating upward with ease is a buzz that only a cyclist can know.

I’ve done a lot of solo rides lately and it’s not always easy getting out there, but once I do, no matter how the ride goes, whether on road, gravel or trail, my mood gets increasingly better. There’s no need to feel guilty about escaping for a little while. No need to feel guilty about hopping on a bike and getting lost, even if commitments dictate that you should be somewhere else or doing something different.

When I finish, as I’m hanging my bike and taking off my shoes, I do not immediately dive into life’s problems. I hold onto that ride for as long as I can. Then, I’m better equipped to handle my problems. I am going to ride for as long as I can, because cycling is my system of survival.

4 thoughts on “Cycling is a System of Survival

  1. Rob,

    Your words are profoundly true. There’s something transformative about a ride. It engages all your senses at once. Other sports disciplines likely have similar affects on a person, but cycling has a way of bringing me to my happy place. Walking can be too slow and driving can be too fast. Cycling is the optimal speed that allows for covering significant distances but allows for a quick dismount to take in a beautiful place or watch a hawk sitting on a branch. You and I are two people that are fortunate enough to be able to suit up and ride into some of the most beautiful and wild spaces in the mid-Atlantic region, right from our homes. I consider each ride to be a gift.

    We all have trials and challenges in our lives; how we respond to them is partly what defines us as individuals. I shared some of my health challenges with you when we rode the Poconos a couple seasons ago. One of my first priorities when I was able was to get back on my bikes. Looney? Maybe. Cycling has brought me tremendous physical pain through no fault of my own. It has also given me overwhelming joy on many occasions. I don’t know you well, but I do know you well enough to say that I believe we both need to ride to keep life balanced. I consider you to be a strong person. I consider you to be a good and giving person. This is evidenced by your giving back to the sport through rides you’ve organized and definitely this blog, itself.

    Keep the pedals turning and peace to you my velo brother.

    Brian
    Coopersburg, PA

    ps. I apologize if this msg appears twice. I tried once from my mobile and it didn’t seem to post.

    Liked by 1 person

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