I ride my bike to relax
I see a lot of posts about ridining my age, or now fast a person can go, and I'm not knocking these people. I think it is an admirable goal. I'm just saying I like to ride my bike to relax and get away from everyday tension. I like to ride my bike to work and other places, but I could care less about riding my age or how great my average speed is. Am I the only one?
I think you have a good perspective on things. I've been an athlete my entire life. Went to college on a football scholarship and had an opportunity to play minor league baseball. That was back in the mid to late '60's. So, for me it's been hard not to watch my computer and see "how I''m doing" vis a vis mph. But, I've been trying to just relax and enjoy the ride. Riding every day with the goal of being faster than yesterday is a recipe for disaster in that it makes me not want to ride. It's just always so hard. Especially now that I'm 64. So, last year I made a pact with myself. I have a 15 mi. TT and a 30 mi. road course that I let myself fide as fast as I can about once a week. The rest of the time I tell myself I'm just putting miles in my legs and recovering by enjoying the scenery. Now I like cycling even more than before.
No - there is a whole community like that out there and I think you may have stumbled onto a large part of it.
For me there is all kinds of bike riding, the riding I do to stay in shape, the riding I do as stress relief, the riding I do to challenge myself as well as (and don't tell my wife) the riding I do to avoid house work :D
There have been many threads on this topic over the years.
And yes, you are the only one who rides to relax.
Folks ride for a variety of reasons, sometimes combining several purposes into one ride.
One of the great things about bicycling is that almost everyone can find their unique spot in the activity - relaxing, reflection, racing, building endurance, smelling roses (although I understand that all the smell has been bred out of roses), group togetherness, solitary time, touring, commuting, speed, etc., etc.
So, yes, some of us ride to relax (and build endurance, and - etc., etc.)
When I resumed cycling a few years back, it was primarily for the reasons you (OP) mentioned. With the passage of time, I noticed that I had begun to lose some weight. I liked that. Also, I quit smoking. Now, I watch the mileage and record it. Still, however, I ride for the relaxation and release of tension.
We live in a very competitive culture. People seem to measure themselves not by absolute terms such as performance but in relative terms such as being faster than the next rider. I have noticed in the cohort of riders around my age, many of them have dropped out of riding now that they can not ride in the fast group anymore. It is a shame. At over 50, cardio vascular fitness is probably more beneficial to your health and well being than ever before. So riding to "relax" is a very worthy motivation. If you ride to "ralax", you certainly are not going to give up because some 30 something with a Dura Ace carbon fiber racing bike can now drop you like a hot potato.
Same here-----except I have a natural tendency to want to ride a little further or a little faster each time out. But doing that makes all of lifes tensions go away for a while and is relaxing to me.
Originally Posted by Bob Nichols
Yep. I find it relaxing after a ride. I ride because I want to stay active, fit, healthy and challenge my endurance and stamina. At the end of each ride I find another big accomplishment that requires relaxation and sometimes a nap.
I should also have mentioned that one of the advantages of riding hard is increased fitness. Last year I rode half as many miles as the year before and I actually got faster. And, it was because I pushed myself harder than the year before. Not all the time but at least once a week. Recent studies have confirmed that doing this is the "fast track" to fitness.
I sense a poll coming on.
I believe that most of us here are laid-back recreational riders.
However, there is a natural selection bias in the threads on a bulletin board. A thread that states "I rode today and was really relaxed" would not get too many visitors unless the author rode in a beautiful part of the country (such as the Oregon coast photos we've be treated to) or unless the author is given to flights of fancy, such as my musings on the ontologic significance of the turkey buzzards circling over me on a hot day when I ride out in the middle of nowhere.
This format just lends itself to the "I rode today, crushed my enemies, drove them before me, and heard the lamentations of their women" type.
Heck, I often check out the road racing thread and I can't hang on family-friendly rides with the kiddie carriers. The threads are just interesting.
But I agree with you.
Addendum: Dnvrfox has several times started a "Tell me about your relaxing non-competitive ride" and they almost always die out after 1-2 weeks.
I ride as fast as I can. It makes mountain biking a lot more fun and I get to improve skill wise. Then too, it's the fun part of my fitness program. I do like to be fit especially since I had to spend my youth relatively sedentary and I periodically ride with folks 20 to 40 years younger. It's nice to stay with the group.
Being retired, I have ample opportunities to relax. Matter of fact. I would argue with TV and pcs, we are over relaxed. TV is so relaxing that that a study showed we burn fewer calories watching TV than when we are asleep. Can't get get more relaxed than that except maybe death.
Originally Posted by The Weak Link
Originally Posted by alcanoe
I'm frequently tight and stiff when I get on the bike. The harder I ride, the looser and more willowy I feel when I get off it. And the harder I ride the longer that feeling lasts.
Besides, it's fun to race cars in traffic. It really pissed off a guy in a Porsche the other night coming home from work that an old guy on a Trek with fenders and panniers beat him through the city.
I ride to relax, too. It's just that sometimes the most enjoyable, relaxing ride is 68 miles long . :D
I most enjoy rides that combine puttering about for the mind and concentrated effort for the body. Other riders have different preferences. It's all good.
I notice the same effect for both cycling and weight training. Talk about clearing mental cobwebs too. When I worked, the only way to really get relaxed was a hard work out of some type.
Originally Posted by tsl
It just happens that the most relaxing rides for me are the long ones.
I've raced for well over thirty years, but in the past ten years I found that I have enjoyed just being out on rambling rides or organized recreational rides on a tandem with a slow stoker more than I enjoyed the tensions of racing. I already know I can keep up with the fast guys (I still do the odd randonneur ride), so when not on the tandem, I'm on a fixed gear track bike with brakes. This gives me an excuse to drop back on climbs or descents, besides giving me way more control in pace lines, and automatically giving me a harder workout if I want (and sometimes when I don't want) than riding my carbon fiber 10-speed Campag Trek.
I've found that the guys who go fast all the time are seldom racers or ex-racers. Racers have learned that each ride has an objective, and quite often the objective is slow, low-gear rest day (these are actually the days where your body gets a chance to rebuild and you actually become stronger from this type of riding, as opposed to going hard every day, when your body never has a chance to rebuild in reaction to the stresses placed on it).
I think that if you go hard all the time, you actually increase tension and stress out your mind and body. But I also think it's good to go a little harder than you like sometimes (but not too often!) in order to cause your body to get stronger in reaction.
All things in moderation, or "medio tutissimus ibis."
Somewhere, around 50, I lost tbe need to win races. Now, I want a good workout and the mental 'unwind' that comes with it. Others like it different, but let them. There's room for all of us on the trail. bk
I wrote a "rant" of sorts about this a few weeks back. I also ride to relax, because I enjoy it. I ride just to have fun. I don't:
-Use a computer. In fact, I'm suspicious of the entire concept.
-Ride with any clubs or groups. Some of us just function better when we're by ourselves. I seem to be one of these.
-set speed / distance / mileage goals. My goal is to enjoy my evening rides.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
The non-scientific poll up seems to support the notion that most of us here are only
in it for the babes.
I have no trouble with the concept that a relaxing ride might take you 60 miles. It gives you
lots more time to relax.
Last year I rode several group rides early in the year. It made me twitchy. I was more worried about eratic riders, and my own lack of conditioning. It took me a couple
of months of solo LSD rides to get over it.
No group rides this year so far. There's a big one on the calendar on April 14, but I'm not sure I'll have my taxes done by then.
Like any pursuit in life, cycling should have different reasons on different days.
Sometimes, maybe you're late for an appointment and you need to go a little faster, or you just want to see how fast you can go. Some days, I ride with a group (if you don't, try it you might like the company) and get into some friendly rivalry. Other times, you just want to roll along without working hard, listen to the birds and/or the "stories" rattling around your head and enjoy the scenery. Occasionally, however, there's nothing like sweat stinging the eyes and screaming quads. I love it all.
BTW, if I was in it for the babes, I would have quit by now. If you're looking for "babes" I'm thinking ballroom dancing is a better bet.
In the sense the OP posts I don't know if I ride to relax or not. But, for absolute certain, I ride for FUN. I flat enjoy going out for a ride where I just hammer as hard as I can for the entire time. I also really enjoy going for a slow ride where I stop often to watch the beavers, the birds and anything else that catches my eye. I really enjoy riding with another person, or persons, over whatever distance we agree on. Maybe even stopping for a grease burger or other fat treat. Sometimes, I ride just to see if I can climb that hill. When I do it brings a sense of satisfaction.
In short, for me anyway, variety is the spice of life. It also brings the best physical and mental fitness that I can use for other life activities.
I was indulging in my usual flight of fancy, but now that you mention it....
Originally Posted by Randochap
I've taken ballroom dancing lessons (with my wife) and I've done plenty of group rides as well. The crowd that hangs around the ballroom floor is way overrated, unless you run into Kristi Yamaguchi. And she's married, anyway.
To my tastes no one is hotter than a biker babe.
In theory. YMMV.
In CO, we have lots of biker babes. Of course, to me, a "biker babe" is someone under 65.
But truly, lots and lots of lady riders - many of whom look very "healthy."