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Riding and Thinking....

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Riding and Thinking....

Old 08-05-06, 04:32 PM
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TomJoad
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Riding and Thinking....

Is it possible to have a "good" ride while your mind is busy reeling, thinking about work and kids and all the usual stuff? I am lucky enough to be able to ride in a rural area with long, nicley paved hilly farm roads. Very quiet, but they also leave me prone to thinking too much. Anyone ever try the Zen approach. Just riding, not thinking?
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Old 08-05-06, 04:34 PM
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That happens to me alot when I'm riding solo. It's like I just drift off..................
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Old 08-05-06, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by TomJoad
Is it possible to have a "good" ride while your mind is busy reeling, thinking about work and kids and all the usual stuff? I am lucky enough to be able to ride in a rural area with long, nicley paved hilly farm roads. Very quiet, but they also leave me prone to thinking too much. Anyone ever try the Zen approach. Just riding, not thinking?
Yes it is. As opposed to focusing on becoming a better rider and training hard for events that you may win, but will never get to a level you will be content...yes it can be a better ride.
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Old 08-05-06, 05:10 PM
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Depends on what you mean by "good." Some of my fastest rides come when I'm pi$$ed off at my boss and working it through in my head. Before I know it, I'm up the hill!
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Old 08-05-06, 05:16 PM
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I've got two teenage daughters and a 10-year-old son. The only time I get to take charge of my mind and let it drift into all directions is when my only focus is what's beyond my handlebars. My best rides are when I leave the teenage attitude at home with Dad for a few hours.

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Old 08-05-06, 05:25 PM
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I find two activities very beneficial for creative problem solving: sleep and cycling. Almost always when I have that "Eureka" moment I am just waking up or riding my bike. I wonder if I could get an NSF grant to cycle and sleep while on sabbatical?
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Old 08-05-06, 06:04 PM
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I found that when my mind wanders on a trail I know well, I end up turning my fastest times. It's bizarre and I guess that's what people call the "zen moment".

As far as my most creative, I also find it when I'm in the state between sleep and awake. Also bizarre, I think.
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Old 08-05-06, 06:11 PM
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When there is all kinds of stuff running through my mind, I seem to pedal harder and faster. Don't know why...
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Old 08-05-06, 06:25 PM
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My best rides are when I have all sorts of stuff running through my mind. I focus less on the mechanics of riding and enjoy the ride much more.
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Old 08-05-06, 06:25 PM
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One of the main things I like about cycling is that it lets me turn off my brain. Especially on long climbs.

I get the same experience sometimes when alpine skiing. It's a pleasure to have a quiet mind for a while.
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Old 08-05-06, 07:07 PM
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Steady, repetitive exercise is great for your mental health once you accustom/train yourself to it. Notwithstanding the amazing rush of serotonin and endorphins you get when you are done, I love the semi-contemplative, tranquil state I enter while doing long exercise. Was used to it for a long time when running, and now it's even better when cycling because it's smoother. I can be gone for two hours on a ride and it only seems like 30 minutes have elapsed. That's because, even though I am thinking, I'm only thinking at 25% pace.

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Old 08-05-06, 07:10 PM
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All I think about is "Man, I wish I had a road bike"

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Old 08-05-06, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Danre
All I think about is "Man, I wish I had a road bike"

I often have the same thought
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Old 08-05-06, 07:21 PM
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If you have the presence of mind to think about stuff on your rides, perhaps the ride is way too casual? Just a thought. I guess I live on and around hills, so my only thoughts are on getting up the next hill or getting home (which means going up a hill).

.. and we don't have kids or pets and we have cool jobs. (no flames necessary, I realize we're all different). I have life issues too, but my time with the bike is like .. church; it's sacred.
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Old 08-05-06, 07:27 PM
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Until I retired, I had a very high stress job, lots of pressure & difficult life situations were encountered every day. I solved some of my most difficult problems in negotiation & mediation while meditating on them during my commute to & from work. I also had great success in locating individuals and their assets. I know commuting/cycling stimulated my inductive reasoning. Keep pedaling & let your mind run on...Don
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Old 08-05-06, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Danre
All I think about is "Man, I wish I had a road bike"

Well there is a solution for that...
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Old 08-05-06, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by FrankBattle
If you have the presence of mind to think about stuff on your rides, perhaps the ride is way too casual? Just a thought. I guess I live on and around hills, so my only thoughts are on getting up the next hill or getting home (which means going up a hill).

.. and we don't have kids or pets and we have cool jobs. (no flames necessary, I realize we're all different). I have life issues too, but my time with the bike is like .. church; it's sacred.
When I'm on the road, I'm not exactly thinking about anything in particular - my mind is drifting, covering all sorts of random territory. Very freeing. My solo rides are out in the country where the only company I have are the cows. The only time I bring my thoughts into real focus is when I need to talk to myself to tackle a climb or tough stretch.

B
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Old 08-05-06, 10:18 PM
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Interesting...

I ride both ways. Some days I take it kind of easy and let my mind do its thing. Like Bike Lover, I feel like I do my best thinking when I'm out riding. There's something about the combination of the excitement of increased blood flow and the relaxation of the fresh air and open space that is just a great environment for thinking.

Other days I go hard and normal thinking goes away. My mind focuses on things like how my cadence is doing, how my speed is doing, where the route is turning, how much I'm drinking and eating, where the potholes are, and so on. I completely focus on the ride and forget about life. It really is like a cheap form of meditation in a way. That's as close to forgetting my thoughts and living in the moment as I'm going to get.

Anyway, you can forget about your normal problems if you want. As Bob Roll says, go until your brain explodes, your eyeballs pop out, and even your teeth bleed. All you'll be able to think about is the pain.
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Old 08-05-06, 10:58 PM
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meditation...and prayer?

Well, I know I am new to road cycling, although I find my experiences on a road bike akin to going on a spirited drive (i'm sort of a gear-head), lifting weights, or running--all of which I have done for a while. I do a lot of thinking, but (I know this may seem out of place) I also spend a lot of time in prayer on my rides. I normally wouldn't talk about this type of thing, but I find it funny how much more appreciation I have for the rolling hills and blue skies of Northwestern Missouri talkin' with the 'big guy' upstars...
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Old 08-05-06, 11:37 PM
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It depends on what I have going on at work and home. Occasionally, I am thinking of nothing.
More often than not I am either working out a programming issue for work or a problem with my bathroom remodel. Now if I could just convince my manager to let me put the time spent thinking about work while riding on my timesheet. After all, it is one of the best places for me to figure out a solution to whatever is confusing me at that time. That and the loo or the shower.
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Old 08-05-06, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Odd1586
I also spend a lot of time in prayer on my rides.
That's what I kind of look forward to in the upcoming weeks...time alone with Him, without having to hide myself away from everyone for some peace and quiet.
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Old 08-06-06, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by DXchulo
Interesting...

Other days I go hard and normal thinking goes away. My mind focuses on things like how my cadence is doing, how my speed is doing, where the route is turning, how much I'm drinking and eating, where the potholes are, and so on. I completely focus on the ride and forget about life. It really is like a cheap form of meditation in a way. That's as close to forgetting my thoughts and living in the moment as I'm going to get.
I agree. My mind is always thinking of something related to my ride; my cadence, breathing, speed, how my legs feel, what muscles are being used, road hazards, traffic, the sounds, sights and smells of my environment....My brain never shuts off. But it is like a meditation because it's a focusing of my thoughts which frees it from distraction.

As I see it, Zen is not about spacing out or drifting off. It's about focusing the mind to only one thought in a given moment of time. It's about being totally in the present so that essentially, nothing else exists beyond that moment. I've had some pretty powerful moments while riding and performing music when I can get to that place.....i.e, my mind focused.
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Old 08-06-06, 05:31 AM
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When I'm thinking too much, it usually means I'm not riding hard enough and vice versa. That's why I can often get bogged down and troubled on lengthy, uninterrupted flats and I crave nothing more than the pain of a killer climb to get over myself.
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Old 08-06-06, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Kuma
Well there is a solution for that...
yes, financing.
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Old 08-06-06, 10:57 AM
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I agree with a couple of the comments on here in that as I am pushing myself pretty hard on nearly all my rides I just concentrate on the ride i.e. cadence, keeping an eye out for dangers, refuelling etc. Plus when i go with my inexperienced cycling friend I tend to keep an eye on what he is doing as he is prone to doing silly things like veering into me and dropping his water bottle and I have to take evasive action to avoid it.

Sometime I go over things especially if I am pi**ed at my boss and as someone said earlier use it as motivation to work even harder.
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