The cadence of freedom
My legs find their flow, round and round in the cadence of freedom. I begin to notice beauty everywhere. Life becomes simple, existing within and for this moment only…
Mountain biking for some is like a religion, an on-going adventure, and the way to freedom. It can help us to avoid getting caught up in our thoughts and our worries; bringing a whole new perspective into focus. When riding, we remain centred, blending mindfulness with movement; the bicycle is one of the greatest teachers we have.
Our left-brain specializes in understanding mechanisms, rules and systems—the practical side. The right-brain specializes in creativity, intuition and imagination—the freewheeling side. Both sides of the brain are required in order to perform functions, and as mountain bikers know, leaning too far in any direction upsets your balance.
As well as teaching us the value of life balance, biking stimulates our brain to grow, develop new pathways and work more efficiently. Through having to plan routes, maneuver through technical terrain, and visualize lines, biking can help us to flex our ways of thinking.
Cycling teaches us preparedness. Before setting off, riders need to ready their bike and consider what gear they’ll need – helmet, gloves, chain lube, etc. This requires being organized and having foresight.
Effort = Reward
Jumping on a bike can make pretty much anyone feel successful. Whether it’s the simple act of climbing a hill that encourages staying power, maneuvering through a technical root section that test your focus, or simply putting in the miles that help you stay in shape.
Self-efficacy is defined as a personal judgment of “how well one can execute courses of action required to deal with prospective situations”. Biking teaches us to have more self-efficacy because we believe we can take things on and get ’em done! Accomplishing a bike ride gives you a boost of confident in your professional and personal life.
As a bike rider, we understand there are times when you’re going to get dirty, skin your knees, or get caught in a downpour. While we’re getting soaked with rain, we learn to not tense up, complain, or look for an exit. On a bike, we’re taught to have the grit and the tenacity to push through a little suffering.
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. — Einstein
Riding a bike nurtures our independence and self-confidence. Uncovered through exploring freely, and accomplishing little wins, we nurture our inner rebel. Biking builds on our freethinking, free-spiritness, creativity, confidence, independence; that with a hint of childlike wonder, we take risks, worry less about being wrong, and start believing we can achieve anything.
Keeps us youthful
Not only will riding a bike keep you feel healthy and young, it brings a sense of nostalgia. You can feel like a six year old all over again—setting off on an adventure with your buddies.
Being present means becoming grounded and in harmony with the moment; it’s an alertness, an acceptance, and a spiritual awareness. Riding a bike brings the mind into a state of active rest where we learn to savour the moment, soak up our surroundings, and learn the magic of intentionally. This state of presence encourages us to be conscientiousness in all areas of our lives.
“I thought of that while riding my bicycle.”— ALBERT EINSTEIN (1879–1955), ON HIS THEORY OF RELATIVITY
We understand fear
A vital part of riding a mountain bike is navigating uncertainty and risk, and reacting calmly to acutely stressful situations. While sending it down the trail, mountain biker’s need to prepare for what’s coming up. Steady bravery is essential, and that means understanding your fears. You practice responding to threats over and over again so that instead of being fearful or stressed, you’re in a state of mindful readiness.
We find the bright side
With the multitude of stresses in our everyday life, it’s critical to find ways to cope with these issues. Mountain Biking has all the necessary ingredients to boost your well-being and cope with mental health struggles. Biking and negativity simply don’t go together. The mood we can’t help but feel on a bike is happiness, and that positive feeling persists even after you roll your bike into the garage—your blues evaporates with every pedal stroke.
As bikers, we also can learn emotional self-regulation—by taking a pause between a feeling and an action—we utilize riding as a way to pause and think things through before reacting. Poor emotional management can wreak havoc on your personal and professional life, and biking is great practice for controlling your reactions.
We make friends
Biking brings us into a tribe mindset. Our free-spirited mode of transportation helps us to understand inclusivity and fosters a sense of belonging. We’re face to face, we’re approachable, and our sameness becomes accentuated. When we meet fellow riders, we drop into the zone of mutual understanding that lies beyond any superficial differences.
We’re all okay
Riding a bike keeps us balanced in life. We understand the value of the moment, setting a course and having trust in our skills; the exhilaration of being in flow; the warmth of belonging; and that big efforts can equal big wins. We understand that whatever path life sends us down, we can find a way.