Flashback Friday: Cycling solo – useful “Alone Time”

Did you know that this week is NZ Mental Health Awareness Week? The aim is to raise awareness and understanding of something that affects a lot of NZers either permanently or (more often) temporarily when life throws something at them. Personally I’ve been really glad to see much greater openness about these issues in NZ over the past few years and ways to work through it rather than just being told to “harden up”. Nearly four years ago, I was not in a great space mentally and this post (originally from Nov 2019) highlighted how being alone with your thoughts while biking can be one of the great ways to help get yourself through life’s challenges. Things are in a much better place for me now (indeed, this week I’m enjoying an exciting visit to Australia), but I’ll continue to appreciate the healing power of a simple bike ride…

Einstein biking

“I thought of that while riding my bike” is the oft-quoted response from Albert Einstein as to how he came up with the theory of relativity. And while most of may not have a world-changing idea floating around our head, I can attest to the value of riding for thinking and clearing the mind.

Without going into detail, suffice to say that it’s been a fairly traumatic couple of months for me personally. In these situations you can (and should) talk to your friends and family as they are invariably good for bouncing thoughts off, or just being there while you vent. But time alone is pretty important too, to work through things in your head as well.

As well as those quiet times at home (e.g. just before going to sleep), I find that I mix a number of physical ways to get some solitude. Sometimes it’s going for a run, sometimes it’s taking the dog for a walk (although she can create her own distractions sometimes…), and sometimes it’s hopping on a bike and rolling out the kilometres.

Alone with your thoughts

Different people will have different favourites styles of biking; it could be getting out on the road or mountain bike, or just going for a cruisy spin through a park or around town. Pick whatever works for you. One of the advantages of a number of the new cycleway routes is that they remove you from the constant threat of traffic, so that you truly can be with your own thoughts (and not trying to negotiate the next dubious driver in a car…).

We all know how important cycling is for our physical health and fitness. Perhaps what many of us don’t always appreciate is how well it can also help to look after our mental health as well. Take care everyone…

1 thought on “Flashback Friday: Cycling solo – useful “Alone Time””

  1. Please remember to keep noticing your track and hazards so you don’t crash as I did a couple of weeks ago. No broken bones but my bike needed repair.

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