Psychology - Cycology

On recent rides I have been pondering some of the psychology of cycling (cycology??).

I mostly ride with groups, sometimes just two or three of us, but on Monday I rode with 10. I have been thinking about the psychology of being at the back, or the front, or the middle of the group. Often I am at the back of the group of riders because I ride with stronger cyclists and I am much slower uphill. I tend to do fine on flats and downhills but the uphills, since I am on a recumbent, bring me back to the back.

I want to emphasize that I love riding, and that I am actually pretty relaxed by now about all these issues. I would say that "happy to be riding" is my experience about 99% of the time by now ... however, the not-so-relaxed feelings come and go, and here they are for all to analyze!

Here are some of the feelings I experience at the back

  1. fine: happy to blame the bike, happy to be relaxed, happy to be riding
  2. guilt: don't want to hold the others back
  3. frustration: wish my legs were stronger
  4. happy: no-one behind me to crash into me as I slow down up hill
  5. worry: am I lost? did I miss a turn-off?

When I am next to last, I feel

  1. happy: at least I am not last
  2. concerned: does the person behind me feel bad for being last? do they expect me to wait for them or do they prefer I don't wait for them? do I need to wait at the next turn-off so they don't get lost?
  3. worried: will the person behind me crash into me as I slow down on an up hill?
  4. frustrated: wish my legs were stronger (then I would be further up in the rankings)
  5. happy: happy to be riding

When I am up at the front, I feel

  1. happy: wahoo! I am at the front!
  2. uh oh: will they pass me on an up-hill?
  3. worried: am I lost? did I miss a turn?
  4. pressured: am I holding them back?
  5. happy: happy to be riding

All activities come with feelings; those are some of mine. I would love to hear yours.

One last thing ... why not join the Hazon NY Jewish Environmental Bike Ride on Labor Day weekend (and you don't have to be Jewish to join us - we always have a group of Muslim, Christian, Atheist and others). Register before Sunday and get a $50 discount on registration fees with the code "bikemonth". With short and long route options, this is a great event for anyone looking for a great retreat weekend, a diverse and optimistic weekend community and a rewarding physical challenge.

I am happy to answer questions (leave a comment), and there is a great network of cyclists of various abilities in NYC and also here in Boston with whom you can connect for riding partners during the summer as you train up. Prices go up after Sunday, so this is the weekend to register!

1 comment:

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