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What passes through your mind during the Hour(s) on your Bike ride?

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What passes through your mind during the Hour(s) on your Bike ride?

Old 12-20-20, 11:23 PM
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5 mph
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What passes through your mind during the Hour(s) on your Bike ride? (Zen)

Just curious, what do you think about during that hour or hours on your bike ride?

Something really strange happened today.
By 11:00 am everyday before my daily ride, those five or six cups of strong breakfast coffee ( which I love) have got me pretty agitated and antsy and primed and obsessed to go.
During the first fifteen minutes after I bolt out of my garage and am racing along herky jerky, my thoughts are racing and full of stress and I'm a true Mad Dog...
My thoughts go like this ..did I put all the lug nuts back on my daughter's tire..did I say the wrong thing to a coworker..is my bike tire tracking straight...can I do the roof myself next year and save $ 15K ..what if I fall off the roof and if I do , should I redo my Will..why do I distrust a certain Lawyer... . I really don't like my neighbor parking his huge Ford truck smack dead front of my house every day.. how much longer before I storm over and pound on his front door.. what if he calls the Police.. my mind is a pretty nasty hectic place...
The next twenty minutes.. things start to smooth out. I start to cool down, focus on breathing and leg motion and start to connect my brain to my body. Peace starts to outweigh chaos..

Then I reminisce about last night when I was a watching a Japanese anime' movie with my 12 year old daughter. And a wise old charismatic teacher tells a shamed student about to face a bully "Even if you have average strength, it can do great things only if you if you use every ounce of it for yourself and not one bit against yourself; your foe is much stronger but wastes much of it in anger and hatred and a bad temper"
I have ridden about 18 miles now. more than an hour.. I ride a Single Speed Bianchi Pista ..
OMG "The Wall" lies ahead...I can smell it....I am in Trouble !
I have wandered on the trail to the dreaded 40 degree 60 yard gravel Hill the locals called "The Wall" because even the strongest riders on geared bikes have embarrassingly run out of steam and dismounted to get off and walk..
Not surprisingly I have tried it many times with an explosion of adrenaline, brute strength, frenzy and anger and have failed.
Because of those strapped pedals you need for a Fixie, I can't get my feet free when my legs finally freeze. When that happens I topple over like a turtle and take a humiliating clumsy painful Fall.

Today something is different. Suddenly the Teachers words are on my mind.
"Even if you have average strength, it can do great things only if you if you use every ounce of it for yourself and not one bit against yourself....."

And for a strange reason calm, no tension or fear. fills me.
My mind and soul my body and my bike are one. I look down and see one organism.....tire spinning , green metal tubes flexing , muddy legs attached to pedals churning , rolling chain , big gear turning.. chest inhaling, exhaling , breath steaming, arms flexing// everything fused as one big Cell.
Just that one thought and no others. No anger. No fear. No tension. Arms, Legs, Tires, Gravel, Trees, Sky, Chain, Sweat, Lawyer, Frame, Pedals, Hill, Helmet, Neighbor, Roof, I love you World..

In that instant I know I will make The Wall.
And I do. I really do!

. I sweep up past the first thirty yards where I usually fall painfully. It's like I am watching myself in a movie, I climb and pass the forty yard mark and fifty yard mark swiftly. No feeling of exertion or apprehension. Just the feeling of being one with my bike ..and I am at the sixty yard mark and then I have done it.
A strange peace fills my head. My life is going to change.

There will be no argument with my neighbor about his huge Truck perpetually parked in front of our house... the truck.. my neighbor...me. the neighborhood It. will all pass into the Dust of Time I know it.

Last edited by 5 mph; 12-21-20 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 12-21-20, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by 5 mph View Post
Just curious, what do you think about during that hour or hours on your bike ride? I'll

Something really strange happened today.
By 11:00 am everyday before my daily ride, those five or six cups of strong breakfast coffee ( which I love) have got me pretty agitated and antsy and primed and obsessed to go.
During the first fifteen minutes after I bolt out of my garage and am racing along herky jerky, my thoughts are racing and full of stress and I'm a true Mad Dog...
My thoughts go like this ..did I put all the lug nuts back on my daughter's tire..did I say the wrong thing to a coworker..is my bike tire tracking straight...can I do the roof myself next year and save $ 15K ..what if I fall off the roof and if I do , should I redo my Will..why do I distrust a certain Lawyer... . I really don't like my neighbor parking his huge Ford truck smack dead front of my house every day.. how much longer before I storm over and pound on his front door.. what if he calls the Police.. my mind is a pretty nasty hectic place...
The next twenty minutes.. things start to smooth out. I start to cool down, focus on breathing and leg motion and start to connect my brain to my body. Peace starts to outweigh chaos..
I reminisce about last night when I was a watching a Japanese anime' movie with my 12 year old daughter. And a wise old charismatic teacher tells a shamed and disturbed student about to face a bully "Even if you have average strength, it can do great things only if you if you use every ounce of it for yourself and not one bit against yourself..your foe is much stronger but wastes much of it in anger and hatred and a bad temper"
I have ridden about 18 miles now. more than an hour.I ride a Single Speed Bianch Pista ..
I am in Trouble. I have wandered on the trail and I can smell that "The Wall" lies ahead...a dreaded 40 degree 60 yard gravel Hill the locals called "The Wall" because even the strongest riders on geared bikes have embarrasingly run out of steam and dismounted to get off and walk..
Not surprisingly I have tried it many times with an explosion of adrenaline, brute strength, frenzy and anger and have failed.
Because of those strapped pedals you need for a Fixie, I can't get my feet free when my legs finally freeze. When that happens I topple over like a turtle and take a humiliating clumsy painful Fall.

Today something is different. Suddenly the Teachers words are on my mind. And for a strange reason calm, no tension or fear. fills me.
My mind and soul my body and my bike are one. I look down and see one organism..tire spinning , green metal tubes flexing , muddy legs attached to pedals churning , rolling chain , big gear turning.. chest inhaling, exhaling , arms flexing// everything fused as one big Cell.
Just that one thought and no others. No anger. No fear. No worry . Arms, Legs, Tires, Gravel, Trees, Chain, Sweat, Frame, Hill, Neighbor, Roof, I love you world..
In that instant I know I will make The Wall.
And I do. I really do . I sweep past the first thirty yards where I usually fall painfully. It's like I am watching myself in a movie, I pass the forty yard mark and fifty yard mark swiftly. No feeling of exertion or apprehension. Just the feeling of being one with my bike ..and I am at the sixty yard mark and then I have done it.
A strange peace fills my head. My life is going to change.
There will be no argument with my neighbor. I know it.
Quiet the mind, turn the pedals, notice the world. Repeat, until the mind is quiet on its own. That's the goal; sometimes i get there, sometimes not
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Old 12-21-20, 02:57 AM
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I think about the last thing to go through a mayfly's mind: a car windshield.

And I remind myself to not be a mayfly.

Seriously, though, mostly music. I don't listen to music during rides, it just plays in my head.

Sometimes I compose stories or anecdotes to write down later. Years ago I was a newspaper reporter and had to work fast for the police, fire and emergency beat, so I usually composed the entire story in my head on the way back to the newsroom. I got so accustomed to that practice that I still do it whenever I meet an interesting person or encounter an interesting situation.

I often stop to check on folks who appear to be homeless, just to see if they want or need medical or psychological assistance, or just something to eat. I often write about them later, with reasonable respect for their privacy and dignity. I usually compose those stories in my head riding back home. Then it's mostly transcribing and editing.
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Old 12-21-20, 05:27 AM
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I used to focus too much on the bike computer, so most of my thinking was about what % of the ride was over, how this hill feels steeper than that and at this rate when I'll be finished.

So, years ago I switched to showing the map view instead of the data view (now with a Wahoo Roam) and quieted that noise down. Which, of course, enabled other noise to take its place - what I had to do when I got back, or what was waiting the next day at work, etc.

By accident, I found a way to switch that off: one day I noticed I had just swerved to avoid the second iPhone charging cable I'd seen in the road that ride. That led me on a random association to back when the most common discard was unspooled cassette tape and tracking if USB charger cables or bungee cords were really the most popular roadside discards and when I first used a bungee cord and ... Before I knew it, 20 miles had gone by.

I expanded that from looking downwards to more looking side to side at odd names on mailboxes, election signs, style of fence, tackiest yard art, etc. On the boring sections, my mind drifts back to the problems waiting in the real world after the ride is over, but usually something like a Bart Simpson doll sitting up on top of a mailbox will come along and I'll think about when the Simpsons first appeared on the Tracey Ullman show and how often a character pops up in movies today and I tell my wife "I think that's Tracey Ullman" and sure enough it is.

On long rides in my 30s, I'm pretty convinced my real-world problem daydreaming during long rides actually helped me solve many of those problems, but 30 years later I much more enjoy the "staying in the moment" style of day dreaming during long rides.
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Old 12-21-20, 07:36 AM
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AC/DC to ZZ Top
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Old 12-21-20, 08:29 AM
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On short rides (20-30mi) I’m dialed in, watching the road, watching ride computer, buzzed with the thought of moving up the Strava leader list. Pacing, cadence, gearing, pedal pressure. The thrill of flying under my own power...all the while jamming to music appropriate to the ride.

On the longer rides, I’m playing worship music and talking to the Lord. Keeps me relaxed on the slower pace riding solo out on the open road.
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Old 12-21-20, 09:08 AM
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Did I leave the iron on?
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Old 12-21-20, 09:35 AM
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I listen to the music. How I'm going to get through the snow/ice. How beautiful nature is. Lots of beautiful scenery on the bike trail. Whatever is affecting my life? Can I beat the car across the intersection...etc
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Old 12-21-20, 10:41 AM
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I am focused on the ride. Proper warm up, anticipating the terrain, focusing on my spin and shifting technique. And, of course, watching my Garmin to see where I'm at.
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Old 12-21-20, 07:27 PM
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One of the greatest things about cycling is the fact you are alone with your thoughts. You can ponder all of the days news.

Once under way, I seldom think about bike things such as speed and cadence. I just automatically shift etc, what feels right to me at the time.

Then mainly I just enjoy seeing the surroundings, and anything that has changed. Love riding thru the older parts of town and looking at the great architecture of large homes. No cookie cutter houses there.

Last edited by rydabent; 12-30-20 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 12-21-20, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by sloppy12 View Post
Did I leave the iron on?
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Old 12-21-20, 10:50 PM
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Love the writing in OP and the brilliant and funny responses.

Before Strava, before the internet and it's forums, and before I had anyone to ride with or against, I was a different person altogether.

My thoughts were mine. Though I didn't know it at the time, but now reminiscing, they were pretty intense.

For example, one ride up the local mountain out and back on my Orange Univega with Suntour Cyclone I didn't have any idea I would puncture at the summit, have difficulty fixing it because it was so cold I couldn't move my fingers well enough, and while I eventually executed the repair it got dark, and I didn't have enough stuff on, let alone a light, but would make it home in time to still have mom's dinner to eat it alone late but still warm.

I'd like to know what I was thinking on that ride. But I bet it was man this is hard, these toe clips and straps hurt, and it looks like cars crashed here, there and there all the time, those wrecks look really old, oh but here's a new one.

After that ride I would always think over what I took with me and how I would use it if it came to that. After some of that, like drifting off into sleep, I'd switch tracks, like a train or an 8+track player, and jump right into the middle of what seems a gray fog.

Ironically I​​​​​​I kind of think I rode a bike just to get away from thinking. Made the rides up from looking at AAA maps, and made a list of roads like a shopping list on a 3x5 piece of paper in my pocket.

Not having much to think about I pretty much memorized those lists and didn't look at the paper maps much. Couldn't do that now.

Back to the future. I still ride. I know a lot of riders and a whole lot more of them who I'll probably never ride with on Strava. I give them Kudos. It's what goes on right now.

Sometimes I make up routes on a PC and find unusual roads and trails.

When I was a kid, I'd just get lost.

​​​​​​My tires were skinny and hard as hell.

Last Sunday December 20th I did a great ride. It was great because I was back at it. I had ankle surgery on Friday November the 13th.

​​​​​Nothing extraordinary but to ride with my wife and a buddy up in the hills and down the trails, starting on hard frost and bursting up into the sunshine.

Forgot all about Covid-19 for a while there.

It became difficult and my mind switched tracks. There was nothing but the hiss of blank tape. I forgot for a few precious moments to think.

Then the kid in me tried to remember if I had a spare inner tube just in case. Back to the future.
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Old 12-22-20, 11:00 AM
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I relate to those who have music in their heads - whatever I’ve been trying to learn on guitar often plays in a loop. Otherwise, thoughts about how lucky I am to be living in a beautiful place and riding as much as I like at my age. I don’t really dwell on the performance aspect of riding, but I can appreciate those who do.
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Old 12-22-20, 01:49 PM
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Well I do watch the garmin and depending on the conditions how to react. I try to always have a eye in my helmet mount review mirror never leave home without one. Now on another level the Deacon does go over homilies in my head and if fact next weekend is my weekend to preach, so this happens. I also have another habit I have a route that goes by a friend batting pancreatic cancer so every time I go by his house I breath a Hail Mary prayer. I even do this with folks I have on my prayer list, and with that mostly thanks for being able to ride and be out. They probably will drop the thread after my answer at least based on some of mainstream thought.

Also least we forget about Strava segments I sometimes will give them a real go. The problem with these is that after 10 years of them and pushing in age I am not getting faster, but if the wind is in the right direction I may give one a go. Then of course I am usually planning my recovery brunch too. Sometimes it is good not to think just listen the the world.
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Old 12-22-20, 02:06 PM
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When in traffic on a busy road, I sing the Doxology to myself for peace and comfort.
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Old 12-22-20, 02:35 PM
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At 73, I think about how lucky I am to still be doing this! Recently and happily retired, I find that I don't have a lot of conversations going on in my head any more. One of my favorite experiences, which doesn't happen too often, is to be cranking along in an almost zen state and then snap out of it and for a few seconds can't place where I am. What a rush. I don't think it's neurological!
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Old 12-22-20, 03:38 PM
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I am new enough to the Paceline thing to mainly be concentrating on maintaining the appropriate spacing, doing pulls that are challenging but not exhausting, and trying to remember the route. Cars, road conditions, and brief conversations provide momentary distractions. The best 2 1/2 hours of my early day.
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Old 12-22-20, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by sloppy12 View Post
Did I leave the iron on?
Are we to infer that you iron your cycling shorts
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Old 12-22-20, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by bargeon View Post
Are we to infer that you iron your cycling shorts
Doesn't everybody?
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Old 12-22-20, 08:23 PM
  #20  
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I haven't been able to ride with a clear head for at least the past five years. I am hoping that, in 2021, riding will once again become relaxing, rather than a series of futile attempts to get my mind off the news of the day.
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Old 12-22-20, 08:40 PM
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big john
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
I haven't been able to ride with a clear head for at least the past five years. I am hoping that, in 2021, riding will once again become relaxing, rather than a series of futile attempts to get my mind off the news of the day.
Sometimes when riding alone I have to make a conscious effort to stop thinking about that stuff. Some days are worse than others, depending on said news.
When I ride with friends sometimes they want to rehash all that stuff and that is ok in moderation.
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Old 12-23-20, 11:30 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
...When I ride with friends sometimes they want to rehash all that stuff and that is ok in moderation.
What makes it harder is that, anywhere you go, you're not allowed to call "all that stuff" by name.
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Old 12-23-20, 12:06 PM
  #23  
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I usually listen to podcasts on the bike.
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Old 12-23-20, 12:16 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
What makes it harder is that, anywhere you go, you're not allowed to call "all that stuff" by name.
At least not here.
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Old 12-23-20, 04:12 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I usually listen to podcasts on the bike.
I listen to audiobooks while riding, usually alternating between fiction and non fiction.
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