July 7, 2017 • By Seamus Mullen
I was riding my bike the other day in the woods, by myself, and I think I finally put my finger on what it is that I love so much about cycling. Or at least one of the things I love so much about cycling. I was on my mountain bike, riding through some really technical, challenging terrain and suddenly realized that I was smiling, almost laughing, with joy. It occurred to me that in that moment my mind was exactly where it needed to be—I wasn’t thinking about my restaurants, my book or any of the other stresses of life, I was simply in that very moment. I was in church.
From now on I’m going to think of mountain biking as going to church, because that’s exactly what it is for me. It’s a moment to put away all the pressures and to escape into the fluidity of the moment. And if, by accident, my mind happens to wander for a moment or two, the bike, the trail, the rocks, the logs have an uncanny ability to land me on my ass and remind me that I must truly focus only on the task at hand and that task is to play like a kid and have an insane amount of fun.
Riding on the road is a little different, we tend to ride in groups, taking turns pulling, attacking, recovering, chatting, busting balls, challenging and crushing. It’s social. It’s a team dynamic. It’s our kaffeklatsch—our teenage competitive moment relived. Cycling has been a constant in my life for a long time, although when I was really sick, I was forced to give it up for many years and thought I would never have cycling back in my life. But as I’ve turned my health around and buried the notion of ever being a sick person again, cycling has come back to me and brought balance, momentum and happiness into my life. After all, it’s just like riding a bike.