During the last few weeks I’ve been riding my bike with a religious fervor. Despite feeling stressed about RISD classes, the fact that my best friend continues to ignore me, my grandma’s fall, and doubts about how to proceed with my thesis, cycling has served as a constant, steady anchor point. I know that so long as I get up in the morning and will myself on the bike, by the time I get back home I will feel energized, productive and ready for the day. It isn’t just the fact that I love bicycling (though I most certainly do), nor is it that riding the bike gets me outside into the fresh air (though I love that feeling as well), but rather it’s the fact that by cranking out 20,30, 40 or more miles I feel like I am progressing, making my muscles and lungs and heart stronger, my mind crisper. It is very rare for me to go for a bike ride and then feel sad during the rest of the day, yet I often struggle with sadness on days that I do not ride.
To be Successful, Take the First Step
I feel like so much of being successful in life-regardless of how we define success-is a matter of taking the first step. Things tends to fall into place once we literally or metaphorically get on the bike. Sure, we still have to pedal, climb hills, watch out for cars, and so on, but once we are on the road we know that we are on the way towards achieving something. For me, cycling kills two birds with one stone: I love feeling fit, and I have the goal of doing an ultra-marathon cycling race next; but cycling also clears my mind and enables me to work on other things during the day, such as my thesis and the business that I am starting with Mike. Now that I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD, I see the importance of having things like cycling in order to help keep my mind focused. Part of it is that when I am on the bike I am able to let my mind wander as much as I want, yet when I return I am just tired enough that it’s harder for me to daydream; in other words, after a good ride, I feel tired enough that my mind calms down, but not so tired that I can’t focus on whatever I need to get done.
As I thought about it, it occurred to me that in many ways cycling is my savior. It’s the time I get to spend alone with no other obligation than to pedal my legs. Mind and body can roam freely through the world, the one connected to the Earth via a frame, pedals and tired, the other connected to the Heavens via thoughts, neurons, synapses and dreams. Now that I’ve found my saviour, perhaps I can summon the energy, courage and innovation needed to save the world.
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