fbpx
50.7 F
Spokane
Friday, April 19, 2024
HomeCommentaryCycling as a spiritual exercise

Cycling as a spiritual exercise

Date:

Related stories

Blinded by Binaries: Why We Don’t See the Infinite Dignity of Two-Spirit People

There is much to learn from and praise in “Dignitas Infinita” (infinite dignity), the April 8 Vatican declaration. But its understanding of human dignity is wedded to binary opposites. This view puts the Vatican in an unholy alliance with Idaho’s legislature, which in order to wipe out the rights of transgender people has declared that there only two sexes, male and female.

What Is the LDS General Conference?

Twice each year, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tune into what is known as general conference. Most are seeking guidance from leaders and listen to their messages with reverence and deep interest.

Avoiding Extremism: Lessons from Authoritarian Overreach and the Value of Democracy

As our election looms, we must understand our own biases. Understanding our biases will help us vote wisely, choosing those we wish to govern us.

Teaching Religious Literacy in the Face of Intolerance

The aim of the Religion Reporting Project is to talk with students about religion in the media, introduce them to experts in the field and — the best part — take them on visits to houses of worship throughout the region.

The Ease of AI Making Decisions for Us Risks Losing the Skills to Do that Ourselves

In a world where what and how people think is already under siege thanks to the algorithms of social media, we risk putting ourselves in an even more perilous position if we allow AI to reach a level of sophistication where it can make all kinds of decisions on our behalf.

Our Sponsors

spot_img
spot_img

Cycling as a spiritual exercise

By Tracy Simmons

Photo illustration of Tracy Simmons cycling around The Palouse by Elizabeth Lloyd

About 80 miles into a 100-mile bike race earlier this month, in the wind and rain, my legs started cursing at me. My stiffened neck did too.

It reminded me why I ride.

Cycling isn’t just about physical fitness, it’s also a mental game.

A few days a week I jump on my Trek and see where the pavement takes me. I usually find myself on a scarped, country Palouse road miles from anyone I know.

That means the only one I have to talk to is myself.

Sometimes I’m a cheerleader, oftentimes I’m a critic.

I fantasize, I worry. I ponder about work, my friends, my past, my future. I analyze my failures and think about how to approach things differently the next time.

This is why cycling, for me, has become a spiritual exercise.

On a bike the demons have nowhere to hide. I have to face them, ride with them – just like I have to pedal through the burning in my legs.

Without a bike, I would likely just run from them.

Cycling has saved me from growing into an angry, shallow and bitter woman.

For as long as I can remember, bicycles have been my outlet.

When I was about 7 years old I met my dad for the first time, and he taught me to ride the hot pink bike my mom bought me from a garage sale. When he left again a few weeks later, I rode that bike around our apartment complex parking lot over and over again. Maybe he’d come back if he heard how good I’d become at steering and braking.

He never did come back, but the bike gave me hope, and that wishful thinking held off anger for as long as it could.

By the time I was a high schooler I had saved enough money to buy two bikes – a BMX with pegs and a dual suspension Giant mountain bike. They came to me at just the right time.

I was angry by then, partly because I was a teenager, but also because my mom had remarried, and I didn’t like her husband much. It was sinking in that my dad wasn’t returning. A friend died. Our “house church” was suffocating me.

Anger had turned to fury, and it showed itself in aimless outbursts.

So I rode.

I found myself pedaling up and down dusty Albuquerque roads and exploring cactus-lined trails in the Sandia Mountains.

My anger started to change, because it had somewhere to go. It pumped out of me, through my quads and down my calves. Each ride was a cleanse.

Years later, when I was working as a full-time reporter, I sported a single speed SE Draft. My then-girlfriend gave it to me. She was my first love.

She was also my first heartbreak.

After she left, my legs were fueled not by anger, but by anguish.

Over time, any ire and sadness I had, I shed with the stroke of a pedal.

I still have that bike. It reminds me that through mental fortitude, I can overcome hills, affliction, leg cramps. Mind over matter.

Buddhism teaches that we can train our mind by refining and purifying our motivations and attitudes. This is done through meditation and building inner strength.

We all approach this practice our own way. Some sit on zafus. I sit on a bike (I’m a roadie now), strap on a helmet, clip in and go.

If you appreciate FāVS, please consider showing your support by becoming a member today!

Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons is an award-winning journalist specializing in religion reporting and digital entrepreneurship. In her approximate 20 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti. Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas, Connecticut and Washington. She is the executive director of SpokaneFāVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Washington. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and national publications. She is a Scholarly Assistant Professor of Journalism at Washington State University.

Our Sponsors

spot_img
spot_img
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x