Thursday, 7 October 2010

Cycling for the Soul

I had one of those days recently. You know, the ones that make you want to curl up under your duvet and have a good sob. And then call your mum. And then have a very large glass of red wine to try and flush out the sadness. They don't happen to me very often, and they soon pass, but this one was terribly timed with a long day at work. By the time I left it was fully dark, which didn't help. I was weary and tearful and very tempted to get on the tube and collapse all the way home.

I stood outside the office, bike park to my right, tube station to the left, and dithered. I couldn't face getting suited up, dealing with the locks, all the faff that most days I don't even notice. I turned left and set off, but heard a small internal voice calling me. It was Trusty. It said 'come, let me carry you and your bruised heart home. I will bear your heavy burdens and smooth your path'. 

OK, so it might not have actually been my bike. It might have been another voice, or none at all. But I paused, turned on my heel and went to rescue the steed from a lonely night underground. I suited up, swung my leg over and set off. 
And I confess, I had a little cry. Bikes are a good place to do it, as long as you can still see the road. No-one notices. The repetitive pedalling is very soothing, and there is no where better than a bike to get some brain space or have a little pray. I joined the neon pack at the lights, zoomed round a few good corners, powered up Great Percy Street and by the time I was halfway home my head felt clearer and my heart felt lighter. It may be as simple as endorphins and fresh air, but I believe cycling is good medicine. It doesn't fix the stuff that makes me sad, but it helps me face it better.

And if I sound like some sort of cycling evangelist, well, maybe I am.


  1. Hi

    Good choice listening to Trusty - the tube would have made 'it' worse.

    Hope the stuff that makes you sad is not too big, that can't be overcome by some good cadence / chilly bright mornings and the thinking that comes out of a decent cycle ride.

    There should be more cycling evangelists.

  2. That is a lovely piece of writing. We need more cycling evangelists like you.

  3. Thanks you two- absolutely fine and cheery as usual now, was just a bad day. Crack on!

  4. Endorphins and fresh air may be simple, but they're magical too.

    I'm so glad you let Trusty and not the Tube take you home. Nothing could be less generative of endorphins or less fresh of air than mass transit on a chilly night.

    I just LOVE your writing.

  5. i frequently find myself letting off emotions while biking that are somehow more contained elsewhere...apart from the odd sob, i also find myself giggling hysterically, whooping, singing loudly and badly, cursing out the people that make my client's lives a misery, etc...i'm sure it's all therapeutic, and somehow the ride frees you in a city where one is usually so observed. hope you feel better love.x

  6. I have been an avid follower of your blog since your Dad told me about it last week.

    My wife wants to know why you havent done a blog on saddles.

    You can read our cycling blog at

  7. Hi Peter! Thanks for that, will take a look. I've not written about saddles because I don't feel qualified- I generally steer away from technical subjects. HOwever, I did find this useful (and frank) article:

    I believe specialist saddle companies will measure your pelvis and fit you to make sure the saddle is comfortable. I seem to get on fine with a bog-standard gel saddle but I only rarely ride for more than an hour and a half.

    Hope that helps a bit!

  8. I was thinking more from a user perspective!! Jane talks about little else when on her bike!