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Rediscovering the ride…

January 23, 2010

Since the weather for the past month or more—gee, ever since I got my new bike—has been so incredibly crappy, I have been doing more physical fitness activities. I bought a year’s pass to our new aquatic center here in town, and I have been swimming, using the exercise equipment, and I’m even taking a springboard diving class with my ‘tween daughter.

Tonight, as I was peddling away on the exercise bike, increasing my endorphins and getting out some of the day’s energy, bottled up from sitting at the computer too long, I had an epiphany about the similarities for me between riding a bicycle, even a stationary one, and motorcycling.

Liz and her Schwinn

My first bicycle

I have had a connection with bicycling since I was young. I got my first Schwinn with training wheels when I was about 5. The training wheels didn’t stay on long. During my elementary and high school years, I often rode my bike to and from school. When my mom went to work full time when I was 10 or 11, my bicycle and my feet became my main forms of transportation. I lived in a great, hilly, suburban neighborhood. I reveled in zooming down hills up to 40 mph (I actually had a speedometer on my bicycle—even then I loved seeing how fast I could go). In college, I was fortunate to live in a place that had many miles of bike lanes, and I would go out for 20-, 30-, or 40-mile bicycle rides several times a week, making different circuits around the Oregon countryside near my university town. I often didn’t see any cars on those rides, though I occasionally had to pile on the juice in order to miss a spray of herbicide floating down from a crop-duster

The discovery this evening was that my enjoyment for riding a bicycle shares some of the same things I love about riding a motorcycle: the focus, the intensity, the being in nature (except, of course, when I’m at the gym), and the release I feel in my emotional state. Even on a stationary bike, I have never needed anything to distract me from what for some is monotony. No iPod, no need to watch the tv, no need to read a book… nothing other than my own inner self, just being present in the moment and in my body. Doing the work. Being with myself, rather than distracted from myself. That’s exactly how I feel on my motorcycle.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m really really really REALLY looking forward to some dry weather and getting on my motorcycle again. Because that is my ultimate ride. A place I experience full connection with self. I don’t need an iPod on the motorcycle, either… nothing but the wind, the machine, the road.

In the meantime, though, I’m going to crank up my stationary spinning for some mental release from the rain, as well as getting physically fit for the upcoming motorcycling season.

Try it, and see what you think…

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 23, 2010 2:03 pm

    I just began “gliding”. It is doing much the same for me. I understand what you mean.

  2. February 3, 2010 4:52 pm

    Liz- what a great story, it takes me back in time to my first bicycle. An over sized old blue bicycle that was probably older than I was, but I loved it right down to my current mountain bike!
    Thanks for sharing a great bilateral personal story! And can I just say how cute you were as a little girl!! ~Cindi~

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