In search of solitude
For many cycling is a way to make friends, socialise and keep fit. This is how I fell in love with cycling and I have made friendships that will last a lifetime.
But I’ve come to realise, one of the great draws to cycling is the solitude – just me, my bike and the open road.
Like most, I have a busy life. The demands of working in a digital agency, a young family, a house and all the things that come with it – I have very little time to myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very lucky to have the life I have. I’ve got a great job, family and home…
I also like time to myself.
For some that might be torture, but for me it’s really enjoyable – I’m very comfortable in my own company.
It offers time to reflect and think back, process and understand what’s happening in my life. Or, if I want, just the ability to switch off and not think.
Cycling by myself gives me a freedom you don’t get when with other people – even if it’s just little things like taking the left turn that looks interesting, or going as fast or slow as you like.
I’m not saying I’m going to rush off to leave my life and live in solitude in a cave, no. But, I‘ve begun to recognise that this time to myself – whether it’s my commute home through the week, or an early start on the weekend for a ride by myself gives me something a club ride can’t*.
Many of my favourite rides have been riding by myself. Just me and the road. No sprinting for the lights, not following other peoples routes, not on anyone else’s clock, no need to chat.
Just me and my bike.
For years I’ve said that I find cycling quite meditative. I believe it really is. Nothing but you and the bike, the internal battle and balance between suffering and speed. The continual focus on breathing and understanding your body. Being conscious to recognise how your body feels so you push yourself enough but not too far, learning to feed and hydrate correctly so you can go where you need to go.
Being by yourself just heightens this. It’s just you, your bike, and the road.
*Not that I don’t love a good club run, I’m a newly paid up member of 7hills! 👋