Pedalling to a peaceful outcome

Lighten up: riding a bike can do wonders for your abilty to handle and resolve stress. Photo: Vanessa Barkla

Lighten up: riding a bike can do wonders for your abilty to handle and resolve stress. Photo: Vanessa Barkla

I have so many riders share how they can feel anxious, stressed, angry or frustrated prior to starting a ride and yet at the end have a better perspective on handling what was the conflict in the mind. Others also share that they suggest that their partners (when feeling a bit tense) get out on the bike and regain some composure.

Many start off a ride feeling pressure of the competition of life where emotions can be anywhere from low moderate to fever pitch that can cause stress and result in motivation for life being low.

It can come from the pressures of the work places where there is an expectation of service delivery or client’s needs to be met within a given timeframe of quality and quantity of service. Work places are more and more becoming a place where we are asked to do more work in the same time by thinking and working smarter. There must be a diminishing return in producing more and at the same expected high level which was previously delivered in a realistic timeframe and at a great deal less stress.

It can be home life where relationships can come under strain through many sources like children, finances, outside influences all that can consume our thinking time. Influences such as these are real and not to be denied as they can be in the midst of all relationships at one time or another and need a commitment of both sides to bring a resolution. It helps if there is are clear heads and a peaceful hearts to work with when resolving conflict big or small.

This makes quite often for the first part of the ride resolving the issues that are confronting and need attention. The neck and head are tense the hand have a greater tendency to grip the handle bars tighter all upsetting the bodies ability to perform well.

It is generally not long into the ride that it is recognised that this frame of mind is depleting and robs the individual of the enjoyment of the riding experience. The pedal action suffers because of the anxious wrestling frame of mind  with issues. The next part of the ride is devoted to getting the techniques of cycling happening more consistently and all adds to the release of tension.

The pedalling of circles of the feet at an even moderate to high cadence lifts the heart rate and increases the blood flow. Stress starts to leak out and joy enters slowly into the mind that wrestles over wanting to feel justified in the anger and frustration of the issue at hand, when really it is a choice not a justification.  Thrashing out the ineffective thinking eventually falls in line as the consistency required to perpetuate smoothness on the bike.

The need for sound repetitive techniques and actions can be in battle against a competing mindset otherwise. Before long the stress is considerably reduced as the upper body and mind becomes relaxed allowing the feet and legs to kick in relying on the application core strengths. Then it becomes almost mediative there is agreement starts to happen of body and mind and a clearer perspective can come into what is required on the bike and can assist putting issues into a better perspective and the weigh up of what really counts.

Time on the bike allows clearer thinking to comes when we are able to take a step back from the issues.  It does not mean the stress is necessarily resolved but there is a nice break from what was pressing in. Thinking can be along the lines of: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard, or seen in others that cycle well — put it into practice.

It is well worth considering becoming a commuter to start the day off with a fresh mind and to finish with clearing out the working day blues ready to face the home front.

To help get started, Men’s Health Week has  Try Pedal Power activity supported by the Bendigo Cycling Network

  • Saturday 5th September 2009 at 7.45am
  • Meeting at the Sternburg Street roundabout.
  • Easy ride, distance to suit riders on the day.
  • FREE coffee at The Boardwalk Restaurant and Café afterwards.
  • Enquiries Eddie Barkla on 5440 5831 or ebarkla[at]

See you on the road soon God willing.


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