Bicycle as Escape

I never seem to tire of writing about bicycles. I love talking about them, dreaming about my next bike trip, figuring out the perfect bike commute setup, pondering the ins and outs of randonneuring… you get the idea.

This love of riding bikes led me to start Chasing Mailboxes. I was searching for an outlet to write more creatively, compared to the technical writing and editing I do in my work, and wanted to focus on a topic that I felt passionately about, but was not overly intimate.

Chasing Mailboxes is a platform to diary the sensations experienced while cycling. These may include moments of discomfort, jubilation, frustration, or even self-doubt. It’s remarkable how the simple act of riding a bicycle can serve as a petri dish for so many physical and emotional states.

Most days I keep in mind that, as immediate and strong as my sentiments are, they are thoughts about bicycling, not anything more profound or grand than that.

This week that feels particularly true. As part of my regular life and work I follow the headlines and news of the day. The news this week has not been good. I won’t go into detail about it here, but if you read the news you know.

Sometimes my bicycle and the writing I do about bicycling are my way of escaping. Bicycling gives me an open road where I can contemplate freely as the breeze flows over my body.

The landscape distracts and the physical effort takes me inside myself which, in a way, is an escape from the sadness and pain in the world.

Maybe that’s cheating reality. I just wanted you to know.

13 thoughts on “Bicycle as Escape

  1. And this is wrong why?! Actually the “safety valve” value of cycling has long been known as biggest benefits – going where the road takes you, at your pace, with minimal rules, allowing you to sweep life’s challenges out of your mind for a time, and achieve something immediate and tangible that feels great. Long may well keep drinking of the fountain of renewal and relax more. Livestrong and Bicycling both have articles on this.

    There are way too many people out there that don’t have this outlet and that’s why so many bad things happen in this world when they stick it to each other instead. Nuff said Gungadin.

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  2. I’m a firm believer in the therapeutic aspect of cycling. Without it, I’d have gone over the edge in one way or another ages ago.

    And I’m pretty sure that a good deal of whatever goodness I have (that doesn’t come from being around my wife) comes from riding frequently.

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  3. I echo SW’s comments exactly. Then I’d add that cycling, for the reasons you mentioned in your post, is a gift that I enjoy and treasure because I understand my good fortune. There are many who do not have it.

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  4. Bicycling is good for you..a feeling you can not get from anything else…Myself..being 66..ride a 62 Schwinn Corvette and a old World Sport …keep up the posts…Thank you

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  5. Bicycling IS life. Running is life. Life is whatever we are doing, right now. I’m currently reading The Power of Now, it is fascinating.

    I actually go out of my way to avoid (most) news. It’s always depressing. Someone will tell me if there’s something I desperately need to know.

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  6. Everything you said.

    And this: I feel more in control on a bicycle than almost anywhere else. Even in traffic. Even in a downpour or snowstorm. Somehow I’m in control…maybe it’s simply because I’ve made the choice to ride.

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  7. Most excellent post MG thanks for sharing. I too agree with the other comments as well. I’m high strung and extremely energetic and dislike gyms. I require such escape as I do sleep and nutrition. Without it is a form of malnutrition of sorts. Cycling & Kayaking are like dessert being a basic food group. The freedom I experience is like no other. Only if I grew wings would it compare. Cheers.

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  8. Bicycling is good for your brain, and also your attitude.

    An example: On a Spring commute to work it rained lightly for my whole 10-mile ride. Getting wet wasn’t a concern, because I had a shower available at the office and dry clothes in my locker. I enjoyed the smells, the sounds of the rain and the chirping of the birds, and was in a really good humor when I got in.

    My co-workers, in contrast, all complained about the weather and what a nasty drive they had on the Interstate. Cycling allows me to manage my own reality, and I like that.

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  9. All of the above comments are true. I ride because it’s always been therapy in one form or the other. When young it lent freedom: when older it’s become a connection with the earth, escape from the mundane, traffic congestion, noise in my head, or hectic life at home, It’s a connection with simpler times, all under my own control, and at my own pace.

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