I did it! Woohoo!
This is how this challenge came about. I decided to take part in the https://www.lovetoride.net/ #CycleSeptember challenge. I only really awoke to the idea on the 15th September. (Besides, from the 8th to 14th September, I was on holiday with my dad – so didn’t have my bicycle anyway.)
So I commited to ride for each day from the 15th for at least 10km (or half an hour). I cruised through the last remnants of spring. But it felt incomplete only doing half a month. So I made a personal challenge to go to the 15 Oct. That would make it a month! But stopping something half way through a month, didn’t seem right. So why not just go till the end of Oct?
I did the math, it would get me to 47 days. Now, that’s an random number to end on. How about I just go for 50 days. Ending on 3rd Nov. So that’s what I have done!
And these are 14 things I learnt from those two wheels:
Any challenge or goal takes dedication and commitment. If you’re study for an exam – you need to be put in the hours of learning. if you’re running a marathon – you need to put in the training 3 time a week (I know, I ran my first two marathons in 2020.)
Likewise, with this challenge – I had to be committed it to it. Some days, I didn’t “feel keen” to go out – but I fought those feelings and went for the ride.
2 RESPECT TO COMMUTERS (SUNSHINE OR RAIN)
It was easy to go riding when the sun was shining!
It was a lot more difficult, when it was cold and rainy 😦
I am doing this 50 day riding challenge – for exactly that: A challenge. * (see point 14)
After this on rainy and cold days, I can decide to commute by car or not go on a fun ride on those miserable days – BUT THERE ARE SOME COMMUTERS who don’t have that luxury. They need to get to work – regardless of the weather! Respect to those people!
3 GOOD FOR THE SOUL (AS MY MOM SAID)
The other day, I was telling my mom about my cycle challenge and she replied saying that “it must be good for the soul.”
I liked that!
It is, riding IS GOOD for the soul!
Try it and you will see!
4 GREAT TO SEE THE WORLD FROM TWO WHEELS
This is one of the MAIN reasons I ride. I like the view. I see and notice different things. When we are closed up in a four doored box (a car) our senses are dulled. We don’t always see as much. PLUS, as a driver, your concentration levels are heightened for obvious reasons.
However from two wheels, we activate more of our senses. We feel the crisp morning air or the warmth of the sunshine. We see flowers, the colours of autumns, birds flying around. I can look into little ravines as I ride by. I can greet people as I ride by.
Life on two wheels is just so delightful!
5 GOOD THOUGHTS COME FROM THOSE TWO WHEELS
When your senses are heightened so is your creativity. I have often prepared and got ideas for talks / youth ideas / sermons (I work for a church) when on my bicycle.
Riding is OBVIOUSLY slower than DRIVING (in most cases)
HOWEVER – that time on the bike, allows for thinking.
The ride to work helps one get in the game for the day.
And the ride home, allow one to unwind before arriving back at the house.
“When riding we can mull over a certain thought getting the clarity we need.”
6 GOOD FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
This one should be obvious! Being outside, getting fresh air and doing exercise will beat any bout of depression or anxiety. Get outside, everyday, regardless of the weather and go ride (walk) in the fresh air – it WILL make a difference!
So on 21 October 2020, it was a rainy day. (Thankfully, I get Wednesdays off) and so, I started the morning sitting in bed, reading The Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5) – But knew I had to get out for my daily ride. The rain carried on.
But I decided (most of life starts with your thoughts) to get on. Rain gear on – and I head into the rain. Besides, 10km only takes me 30 minutes. I’d be back in no time!
I LOVED IT! I went on for 20km and just emrbaced getting absolutely soaked. There were puddles in my shoes. My clothes were drenched. I felt sooooo alive!
Riding is good for your mental health!
7 DETOUR FROM THE USUAL ROUTE
Especially if commuting – change it up!
If you’re like me – you would get bored of the same route.
Cycle new ways to work – even if slightly longer.
There is so much of your town / city to explore – so why do that – even on you commute.
In autumn now – you would cycle past new lovely colours of autumns, you may cycle past a brook you haven’t seen before.
8 WEAR A HELMET, ALWAYS
Please, please wear a helmet! There is no excuse to not be wearing one. One doesn’t wear them for fashion. They’re there to protect your head. (There are some horrific injury stories from people who haven’t worn helmets. Learn from them – NOT from your own epxerience.)
9 DON’T ALWAYS LISTEN TO MUSIC
As a personal rule, if I am listening to music, it’s only one earpiece.
I want one ear available always to hear the sounds around me: the street, the cars etc.
But on occassion (and seemingly more often now) – I ride without music!
I love it!
Tuning into the sounds around me. Yesterday, I heard the rare sound of a Green Woodpecker.
10 ENJOY THE JOURNEY
This is a good philosphy for life!!
How often, we get focused and hone in on the destination, forgetting about the journey?
I have to remind myself to be present in each ride.
Taking in my current surroudings.
11 CARBON CRUSHERS
(From the website: https://www.lovetoride.net/miltonkeynes/pages/info )
The stat that most trips to work are under 5 miles is a scary one. Meaning, a lot more people could ride to work.
I know that in bigger cities, some cyclists have opted to wear masks (even before Covid19 times) to prevent them inhaling the exhaust fumes.
Next time, you’re stuck in a traffic queue – think about these two things:
i) Look at all exhaust fumes (One notices it more on crisp colder morning.)
ii) Instead of being stuck in this traffic, I could be whizzing by on a bicycle 😉
12 CYCLING FOR COFFEE 🙂
If you live in the Milton Keynes #Buckinghamshire area then I can point out some local coffee shops worth checking out. Because, a good day out on a bike often includes a stop at a coffee shop or a local pub. There are some coffee shops that are aimed at cyclists such as:
- The George and Dragon (Quainton)
I visited this back in May. On a sunny day, it was wonderful to see cyclists sitting on the grass, below the windmill and soaking in the sunshine enjoying a cup of coffee.
- Surfin’ Cafe (Ampthill)
This place, I discovered by accident. I rounded the corner in Ampthill it looked so invited. I was lured in to stop – ending up having a delicious milkshake.
- Cafe Belge (Near Beachhampton)
This place was delightful! A big Belgian influence. it was a warm day – and a Belgian beer was a must! But I’ve been told their coffee is good too.
See some photos from each place below:
13 MUDGUARDS ARE USEFUL, BUT…
On the rainy days – oh how mudguards would be useful. Especially for regular commuters!
However, the other day, I was cycling home (knowing there is a shower at the destination) in the rain, I could see the spray from my tyres splashing upwards and I giggled with delight. I cycled with reckless abandon knowing I was getting soaked and that classic mud / water spray down the back of my clothing. But IT WAS FUN.
A good reminder: RIDING IS FUN!
14 MORE THAN A CHALLENGE*
In point number 2, I said that this was just a challenge! But after doing this for 50 days, I know I will me more mindful of using my bicycle instead of my car. I don’t want this just to remaina challenge that I did – but rather that it would affect my lifestyle! I would make better, greener, carbon crushing choices!
Thanks for reading – Now I am off for a ride! 🙂