Cycling Zen

Speaking as a cyclist, I think I can truthfully say we are a different breed.  I can see some of you nodding at this and thinking “No kidding pal!! Y’all pedal 100s of miles. climb hills that mountain goats think twice about and will ride for 15 hours straight if you have to.  Y’all are nuts!”

While all of this is true, I think of this as normal, I am talking about other things…

Most people I know dread the commute to or from work.

Seattle, traffic

Depending on the day and distance, this can be 1 – 3 hours out of a drivers life each way.  Car commuters wish they lived closer to work, and could spend less time driving.

Being a rider of an aluminum steed, I have a different view.

Michelle and I have moved to the Lynnwood office.  Which, as the bike rides, is just over 5 miles to the office.  Now there are a LOT of advantages to this.

  1. When the snow flies, we can avoid the shut down freeways (No lie, once had an 8 hour commute to go 26 miles) HELL, now we could walk home if need be!
  2. If something is forgotten (which is common for this old fart) it’s a quick drive home to get it.
  3. I can ride to work and not break a sweat at that distance, I don’t even have to shower when I get there. (at least no one has said I stink yet)

So yes there are a lot of advantages, but from a cyclists perspective, being this close is NOT good!

It’s just too close.  When I worked in Seattle, it was a 17 mile ride one way.  This was perfect.  With the long hill at the end, it worked out to be about a 90 minute ride.  This meant by the time I got home, I had my workout done.  More importantly, on really bad day at work, I had plenty of time to get to my “cycle zen” state.

Cycle Zen is that point where all the hassles of the day are let go, and all you think of is the ride.  The hum of the tires, avoiding the bumps, listening to the birds, the hair blowing through your hair and the warmth of the muscles as they work.

There were many days I would leave work in a piss poor mood, and by the time I get 5 miles in, the day would be forgotten.  I had another 12 to smile and roll. I really can’t think of a better stress reliever than that.  Now, at 5 I am home.  This is fantastic as I get to Michelle quicker, but I lose the extra exercise and zenness (is that a word?)

This week I have just been ‘off’, kinda grouchy, tense and just not my happy self.  Luckily, being cold and callous as I am,  no one at work has to deal with it. But Michelle noticed.  I did my damnedest NOT to be grouchy with her (hope I succeeded) but she always knows when things aint right.  Plus, she is a great fixer.

Wednesday at work she says, “OK take a long ride after work.”

“We’ll see” says I.  “NO, go ride!” (with a big smile but her ‘do not argue with me look in her eyes!’ (its really cute))

Now how many car commuters would think “YAY, I am going to get to do an extra 30 miles on my way home just for fun!”

Well, 3:30 came around, and I took off. It was a simple ride I have done 100 times, south on the interurban trail to Fremont, then along the Burke Gilman back home.

image

It didn’t matter the route though, it did not take long for me to feel the shoulders relax, the brows unfurl and a releasing sigh to happen.  It didn’t matter that the path was a bit crowded, nor that I wasn’t somewhere lost in nature climbing a steep hill.  I was riding, and all work stuff was lost and forgotten.  Yep, as I’ve known for the longest time, I am addicted to riding.

Editors note:  As I write this, I am reminded of a picture I saw on a riders page I follow on Facebook.  I mean NO disrespect to those with other issues or the family of those suffering, but this is very true so I had to share. The bottom right hand guy is how I felt!

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With the end of the RAMROD in July, we have been busier that hell (even though part of busy was a vacation!) and the riding has been reduced.  Yard work, storm clean up, Foo Fighters (YEAH BABY!) have just limited the riding.

I think I need to figure out a new route home.  I could just hang a left on the trail and go 5 miles north and then turn around, but that annoys the efficient part of me.  I need to find a good loop that is at least 10 miles long.  This, plus the 5 in the morning, would help with the attitude I believe.

Either that, or I need someone to knit one of these for me (my thanks to a friend from the cycling page, Marika) for letting me use this picture.  (She saw it on one of her rides)

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I am just lucky I have a wife who is willing to kick my ass out the door when needed.  Of course, it keeps her from having to deal with a grouchy assed hubby as well!  So it’s a win/win!

Like the wind folks, and I hope all y’all have your own version of cycling zen!

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5 Responses to Cycling Zen

  1. sarburch says:

    Great blog entry, friend! I LOVE the “cycling zen”! Yes, you definitely need a longer ride home. How about getting into the habit of going to a grocery store on the other side of town to pick up an ingredient for that night’s dinner?

    Love the “Live to Ride” creation! Is that hanging somewhere in Seattle?

    • The live to Ride is somewhere in Colorado. Someone had randomly knitted it and hung it on the fence! VERY cool! I am telling all my knitting friends I need one!

      and thats not a bad idea! Gotta get out of the funk!

  2. Pingback: Strange Day but Great Ending | 20,000 Miles of Experiences, Adventures and Thoughts

  3. If you’ve got an iPad, try out an app called Footpath, I think it’s one of the best apps I’ve bought. It’s a wee form of magic for creating routes and there’s a free version to try out.

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