Saturday, January 26, 2013

Why I like to ride by myself

I like to ride alone.

Honestly, I prefer a solo ride. There's nothing quite like quietly slipping away from the world for hours at a time. No set plan, no destination (at least not that anyone else knows about). Phone turned off. Zero compromise.

I hate to compromise. I mean, I think I'm good at it, it's necessary to get through the day and all, and that's what I have to do. But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

So my solo rides give me a break from having to accomodate anyone else. I can be completely selfish. It's indulgent, and I know it.  I can ride wherever I want,  I can change my course for no reason at all if that's what I want to do. I can ride at my own pace, get myself totally lost,  not feel responsible for anyone.

Some people might think that riding alone gets boring. But I never get bored. Maybe it's because I have a hard time turning off my brain (caffeine will do that to you), but after about an hour or so of head chatter, there comes a point when the inner monologue fades out and I'm left with the immediacy of the moment. It's like all of a sudden I wake up and here I am, on my bike, wind in my face and the open road in front of me. Maybe this is what meditation is like? (I wouldn't know, I don't have the patience for it). Maybe this is the closest I'll ever get to a Zen state. If it takes getting out on a bike by myself and losing myself for a few hours, so be it; I'm OK with that.

I'm not anti-social. I love a challenging group ride, and I crave those summer social rides with friends to get beer or pancakes. Some of my best memories involve cycling with friends. And, of course, one of the reasons I like to race is because of the team thing. (I raced before without the benefit of teammates. It sucks).

But please don't be offended if you ask me what my ride plans are for any given day, and I don't tell you.

We'll ride together at some point, but today, this ride is all mine.


  1. This is my favorite line, "...after about an hour or so of head chatter, there comes a point when the inner monologue fades out and I'm left with the immediacy of the moment." That's exactly how I feel when I am riding around on my bicycle. At first you hear the chatter of the world around you, then you realize that there is a deep internal silence that envelopes you and makes you feel peaceful.

    1. And the Velomanati are way ahead of us!

      Rule #6 // Free your mind and your legs will follow.
      Your mind is your worst enemy. Do all your thinking before you start riding your bike. Once the pedals start to turn, wrap yourself in the sensations of the ride – the smell of the air, the sound of the tires, the feeling of flight as the bicycle rolls over the road.

  2. And the endorphins don't hurt, either!