It’s a question of what grounds you. We all need that in our lives, right, a reset? I think one of the things that drew Padraig and me together was that we are both introverts. We recharge ourselves during time alone, often on the bike. That means we might shy away from a big group ride or at least manage our bike time so that we’re sure to get some measure of solo, meditative time in the saddle. Others, the extroverts, will prioritize the social side of cycling.
For an introvert, some group rides might not be grounding. For an extrovert, solo efforts might prove less than satisfying.
Many of us have families and do the dance of bike vs. family, where we long to be out on the road or trail, but feel compelled to be back home, mowing lawns, changing diapers, or coaching sports. Or like me, you’re further along in your family life. Your kids are more independent, and the bike is less of a necessary escape. It still performs it’s magic, but you’re less desperate to pull the rabbit out of the hat.
The bike can ground us when we’re in a bad relationship, or turn into a distraction when we’re in a good one.
At times I have felt like I was chasing cycling like a drug. It wasn’t keeping me grounded, it was just giving me escape. Other times, I fell into patterns where I was more interested in accruing cycling gear than riding miles. When my fitness was at its lowest ebbs, the bike shamed me and was no sort of home.
But there was something magical in those moments when I was alone or maybe with one other person, just winding my way up a long climb, my breathing steady, my heart ticking over, even nearing its max, and the world floated in front of me, and the riding just brought me that much closer to myself, stripped of everything unnecessary for pedaling and moving forward. So there’s that, too.
This week’s Group Ride asks if the bike is working for you right now, or are you chasing it? Is it where you go to feel comfortable? Or where you go to get uncomfortable? Do you get enough? Or are you over-doing it?
Image: One time I literally got grounded.