Stand by me
Do you think I’m weird? Definitely. No man, seriously. Am I weird? Yeah, but so what? Everybody’s weird.
As humans, our most basic needs for a happy and healthy life are food, water and shelter…and a sense of belonging. It is the loyalty, companionship, support, and protection we find within a tribe that fulfills an intrinsic need within us all.
The good old days
Think back to your first bike. I remember mine, a Raleigh, that had neon yellow bars and hot pink and orange accents. A symbol of freedom and autonomy, and a way to go on adventures with my pals. We would all ride to the meeting spot and share stories, compare skinned knees, and ride off with a common goal; to build some jumps, hit the corner store, or find the biggest mud puddle to ride through. Those were the days. But, what if we could get some of that old feeling back…
Our need for tribe
Once we become adults, we often experience physical disconnection from major sources of support such as school, parents, and extracurricular activities. With this disconnection, studies are finding a link to increased depression and anxiety. Without human connection, we’re lost. What we need more than ever is a greater sense of community where we can slow down, connect to one another and cultivate meaningful conversations around our passions, our struggles and our dreams.
The interactions we have with other people affect the way we feel about life, and so when we have tribe to lean on, it keeps us grounded and influences both happiness and the sense that we are part of something greater.
There are a few places around the world we can observe the benefits of coming together. One particular example is in the small neighborhoods across Okinawa, Japan—toted one of the happiest and healthiest places on earth—where it is common for community members to meet a few days per week to chat, problem-solve, and offer emotional and even financial assistance when needed. These groups called Moai, serve as extended family where social and emotional needs are met, and the need for love and belonging is fulfilled.
We may not be living in a small village on an island, but the practice of choosing community, making time for unplanned conversation, and being collaborative not competitive is something that would benefit us greatly. The power of tribe is something almost mystical, as people and conversations naturally shift to become more authentic and personal, and it encourages a world of higher consciousness and positive energy.
Building a Tribe
With our digitally-saturated lifestyle and decreased emphasis on physical interaction, our modern life is anything but conducive to creating tribe. To build your tribe, it’s important to get off your phone and make time for face-to-face interactions. You need to give others your time, your authenticity, and you need to make time for shared experiences—in person. Trust everyone for who they are and allow them to be who they are, and who they are becoming.
Seek out common ground where like-minded tribe members might be. Your local gym or Pilates studio, the local café, volunteer initiatives, paddleboard meetups, and even just getting to know your neighbours. Community bike shops and riding groups serve as a great opportunity to connect. Beyond the bicycle, bike shops give you space to connect with one another around common interests, goals, and ideas.
Regardless of your age, bikes make you feel like a kid again, and if you want to get that old feeling back, it’s a good place to start.
The opposite of addiction, is not sobriety, it’s connection. The core of happiness is a sense of belonging and purpose.