By Cathryn D. Blue, PhD
Special to Grouptrails.
‘Why do you ride a bike?’ I am always somewhat surprised at how many people stop me and ask this question. Most assume I’m trying to stay in shape, maintain my weight, or stay healthy. All these are great bi-products of riding. But that is not the reason I ride. I cycle because I love it!
Bike riding is one of the greatest forms of relaxation. I spend hours on my bike. I have come to believe in all the benefits of riding, aside from those associated with health.
Just think of the benefits:
- No motor vehicle expenses – gas prices, insurance, note, repairs, etc.
- Always finding a parking space.
- Never having traffic delays going places.
- Quick and easy u-turns.
- Meeting new people while riding.
- Exploring the culture of an area, especially away from home. Most cities have bicycle trails near natural reserves, parks, and cultural centers. Most are not accessible by car.
- Biking through these areas allow me to observe my surroundings better and interact with the locals.
Nowadays, with the streets more bicycle friendly, bicycle-only lanes are making cycling safer than ever.
Plus it’s a great way to connect with the environment. When you ride, you feel like part of nature and it is part of you.
Weather doesn’t even hinder me. Some think that’s a little weird regarding the latter, but that’s okay.
and bikes require minimal maintenance.
In my life, bicycling is just as much spiritual as it is physical. At times, I have gotten so caught up in my riding that I forget I’m even on my bike. Hours pass without a break. On some trails, I may find myself riding at speeds beyond 20 mph without even being aware of it. My mind feels incredibly clear and my body is in sync with the rhythm and the motion of the tires spinning beneath me.
When nightfall approaches I head home. When I finally make it home and park my bike in the garage, I am immediately aware of all the work I had done. My legs feel like strong tree stumps. My mood is calm. I can’t wait to get back out the next day.
So to answer the question of why I bike ride, I ask in return, ‘Why not?’
Frankly, I can’t think of a better way to get around.
Dr. Cathryn D. Blue is a social/experimental psychologist and consultant for independent artists. Her research interests include racial ideology, time orientation, human cognition, emotion and motivation as predictors of behavior.