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Bike Riding Nirvana - The Love, Joy and Benefits of Bicycling

Riding a bicycle is one of the best ways to explore nature and experience the world that we live in as well as a pleasurable, environmentally friendly and economical way to get around, get exercise and to meet people or to become closer to friends and family.

Traveling through towns or into the country at bike riding speeds is invigorating and allows you to cover more ground than you could by walking and to enjoy and explore the world more personally and in more detail than you could by driving in a car.

I'd like to write a little bit about the benefits of bicycling, the joy of bike riding and finally about the complete love of bicycling and what I call Bike Riding Nirvana.

This article is not intended to be a guide or a tutorial. It is not about specific bike riding styles or preferences (racing, mountain biking, touring, etc.) nor is it about a specific ride or event. Rather, I would like to try to put into words the joy and love of bike riding (biking, cycling, bicycle riding, bicycling) as it applies to all forms of bicycling and to myself personally.

The Benefits of Bicycling

Here are some of the obvious and maybe not so obvious benefits of bicycling:

  • Transportation - Bike riding is an economical and environmentally friendly form of transportation. When it is practical, leave your car at home. Ride your bike to a friends house, to a restaurant, to the grocery store, to school or commute to work...
  • Exercise - Exercise at your own level or pace. Take a casual ride for some mild exercise or do a century ride or bike race for a more intense workout.
  • Enjoy Nature - Enjoy being outdoors and the beauty of all that is around you. From the wind in your face to the smell of springtime flowers in bloom to the sounds of autumn leaves being crushed beneath your tires.
  • Explore Locally - Explore your town and/or country at the perfect pace and more personally than you can in a motor vehicle.
  • Explore Distant Places - Explore new towns and countries as you travel. Whether you take a day trip, travel to a new state or province or travel internationally, you will see, experience and remember more from your bike.
  • Meet people - Meet people and make new friends. Take the time to stop and talk to people on your route or meet people through organized rides.
  • Develop or Improve Relationships - Become closer to your family and friends by taking bike rides together. Casual conversations and time spent together while cycling can go a long way towards closer relationships.
  • Stress Relief - Get away from the stress of everyday life. Enjoy the freedom and meditative or calming benefits of bike riding.
  • Competition - For some people the thrill of bike racing or BMX competition may be the ultimate high.
  • Economical Recreation - Bicycle riding can be a very inexpensive recreational activity or sport. Your biggest investment is usually the bicycle itself. After that, there are accessories that you will want and need but they are usually not that expensive and are, for the most part, one time costs.

The Love and Joy of Bike Riding

What gives you the most enjoyment or pleasure from bike riding is, of course, going to be personal and will be dependent on your own riding style and preferences. Although most of this article has to do with the love, joy and benefits of bicycling in general, the following sections will be a little more slanted towards my own personal preferences than towards all bike riding styles in general.

As for myself, I love nature, being outdoors whenever possible and a long bike ride on a beautiful day. The love of bike riding is the wind on your face and the sweet smell of flowers in the spring as you glide down a gentle hill. In summer it's finding and exploring new places, the cooling effect of a gentle breeze as you ride through a canopy of trees, a bike path bridge over a stream or even the sound of thunder and the smell of the coming rain.

In autumn, the love of bike riding is a fast ride along a winding bike path, the smell of dried or burning leaves, the color of the trees in the distance or right alongside the bike path that you are on and a scenic sunset at the end of a long ride.

In any season, the love of bike riding is a ride with your friends or your family (together or separately) and the casual or insightful conversations and observations and the unexpected events that inevitably bring us all closer together.

Bike Riding Nirvana

For the most part, Bike Riding Nirvana is the combination of any or all of the of the love, joy and benefits of bicycling, listed above, at the right time and place and when you have become aware that it is happening.

Webster's third definition of Nirvana is: "a place or state of oblivion to care, pain or external reality". Well, we have to make some minor modifications for Bike Riding Nirvana since we do have to deal with reality (traffic and safety issues!) but for the most part it is still a meditative state that involves the combination of the love of bike riding and Nirvana.

For me, this is usually after I have been riding for a while, when I'm feeling alive, when I've left my cares behind and am in a meditative frame of mind. In other words when I am really enjoying the ride!!!

Has anyone else felt this? :-)