Updated: Apr 7, 2021
I have been riding bikes seriously since I was a teenager. They are woven into my life. But today I had a revelation about how important riding is to me. I realised that I am addicted to my bike.
The bike was with my mechanic for a couple of days. No big deal right? Then this morning I got on the rollers for a ride. I hadn’t realised how grumpy I was until I was riding. The contrast in how I felt once I was on the bike was shocking. I had been a grump this past weekend, feeling off and tired.
Now this isn’t a shock really. I know how important the bike is to me, and not only as a means of delivering dopamine. In the last couple of years - which I will say have been rough on a personal level - I have taken to calling my bike my “mental medicine”. Better than pills in a bottle.
There is no better way to relieve stress and bring life into focus. A few moments in my life have highlighted this for me:
When I was a teenager and had my heart broken, long rides chatting with my buddy Jouni kept me sane until I could escape the country to start my spring training.
When I finished racing full-time and returned to university I stopped training. I couldn’t figure out why I was so stressed out! Then I started riding again and everything came into perspective.
And now this past year, with the arrival of Covid, we had to close the gym and coffee shop I co-owned. Riding saved me this past summer giving m time to be at peace and let the mind heal.
There are many days where I don’t want to get on the bike. But I do anyway. And inevitably I have an amazing ride. I think it is important that if this is how you feel about your riding to acknowledge it and know how important it is.
The best advice I have had? Put your bibs on. Fill your bottles. Throw your leg over the top tube and get out there.