The loneliness of the long distance cyclist

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Some people take pills. Some people drink. I cycle.

Last year I trained for several months to complete the 600 mile Aids Lifecycle.

Yesterday, was the anniversary of the ride and as I look back on my past year of riding, it has been a much different experience. Rather than riding 200-300 miles per week up  challenging hills, I’ve kept it pretty basic: Riding to get coffee. Riding to run errands. Riding to the farmer’s market. None of these rides have been longer than 20 miles and they’ve all been on flat surfaces.

These days, only three things compel me to ride.

1. The weather is so beautiful I can’t justify not riding.

2. I’m running such a small errand that my carbon footprint would be doubled if I got into my car to do it.

3. I’m feeling lonely.

Today was one of those days when all three reasons were present. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. I needed to deposit a check into my bank which was less than five miles away. And I was feeling a bit lonely. A bit sorry for myself. My friends were all busy doing their own things which didn’t involve me. I had finished a big chunk of work and needed to get out of my own head. I needed to feel adored. To connect with someone. So…. I jumped on my bike and connected…. with myself.

They say meditation is the cure for all ailments. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. With someone who has the patience of a gnat, meditation has always been difficult for me; however, riding on this beautiful day— the rhythm of the wheels, the pavement even the birds all seemed to work in my favor. It became a moving meditation (eyes open of course) as I rolled around suburban California alone with my thoughts. And as the loneliness began to ebb away, it was replaced by peace. Ease. Contentment. My worries, cares, concerns and sadness melted as I became one with the road, enjoying a presence and mindfulness I had been missing for a while.

Some people take pills. Some people drink. I cycle.

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  • Francesca Ferrara

    Beautiful post Colette! From somone who was feeling the same way, I wish I had gotten up for a moving meditation. I am so proud to be your friend! You are a gem. Thank you for sharing your stuggle, our struggle.

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