The Bicycle: An Instrument of Well-Being for the Lone Traveler
Updated: Mar 6, 2020
“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” – H.G. Wells
The benefits of spending time alone - especially outdoors – have been well-established.
The outdoors part has shown to promote well-being and allow a space to reengage our senses.
The solo part brings freedom from the influence of others and encourages introspection and self-sufficiency. If you’re going to do it, why not be on the move?
The bicycle: a perfect instrument for the lone traveler
Whether a machine made for precision and distance or the more casual cruiser, biking alone brings its advantages. As the lone navigator, you have license to decide where, when and at what pace you travel.
Released from the consideration and conversation of others allows us to focus on the journey.
Riding alone requires your awareness and focus on what’s in front of you. Suddenly the silent, taken-for-granted breathing and heart-rate is noisily in focus.
With the speed and the screens with which we spend our days, we can miss out on life. On a bike, here it is: the present moment. All that’s required is to take just it in.
What we’re capable of – without the audience
When we’re by ourselves we can push and test our limits. Here it’s up to us alone to discover our motivation and to push past self-imposed limitations and excuses. This helps build our mental toughness - something rarely developed when we’re part of a group.
Overcoming course challenges and having to rely on ourselves alone - from flat tires and last-minute adjustments, to injuries and even wild animals, all of it breeds confidence and self-sufficiency. We see what we are truly, independently capable of.
A space to work things out
Time alone, on a bike or not, gives time and space necessary to contemplate problems and concerns.
Riding provides the change of scenery that can spark the mind’s ability to think in new ways, helping spur creative thinking and novel solutions to challenges. A solo, silent ride is the perfect environment for intuition and inspiration to take root.
Physical and mental well-being
The physical exercise of cycling benefits our heart, muscles, joints, coordination and level of body fat. Energy levels increase, fatigue decreases and our sleep improves.
Biking also greatly benefits our emotional and mental health by reducing levels of stress and anxiety and improving our general well-being.
Removed from our day-to-day environment, combining the outdoors with silence provides the opportunity to give our busy minds a chance to rest and recharge.
Taking this time to reflect can give us a new understanding of who we are and what we want in life. Then, when the ride is over, we are ready again to jump back into our hectic, overly connected lives.
Perhaps that’s the story behind the lone Ferry Bike, casually hitching a ride on a ferry across the San Francisco Bay.
Built more for local cruising than a long trek, the rider of this red cruiser could just be setting out.
Or maybe the ferry ride is the last leg on the way home.
Either way, there’s no doubt he or she is better for the journey.
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