Disconnect From Your Phone and Reconnect With Your Bike
I read a quote in an article once that said, “I think our addictions to our screens makes us completely lost. We’re entertained but we’re lost.” It was so simply stated but so eye opening to me. Don’t get me wrong, I use and love my cell phone and social media, but I knew I was spending too much time staring into my phone, ignoring the world around me. I stopped calling people because I could just send them an email or a message on social media instead. Texting and screening calls is the norm but actually talking to someone…no way.
But cell phones are supposed to connect us, right? I thought so too. Until I discovered cycling.
When I discovered cycling I was immediately welcomed into a community. I did not know anyone or even ride and yet they took me in and showed me how to ride, where the best routes were, and what to wear. There was one girl in particular, Casey, who taught me everything to get started, and yet I had never even had a conversation longer than 5 minutes with her. I knew I had found something special right there. I knew I was with my people.
I found my free time was starting to shift from watching what other people were doing and instead I was just riding. My mornings became my time to hit the paved trails whereas I used to lay in bed for 30 min scrolling news or social feeds. I felt more productive in my days and with my time. I felt I had purpose all of a sudden. My life changed for the better in so many ways. My friendships changed. My health changed. Even my vacations changed because they were now focused around riding. Those adventurous vacations I used to see other people take and post on social media, I was taking them.
Even in moments of riding alone, I’ve never felt more connected to my own self. Man I blew a lot of money on therapy when the answer all along was just to ride a bike! It’s mind blowing the clarity that can come from two wheels and zero communication with anyone but your own self. Questions are suddenly answered and things just make more sense. All the stresses and anger of our day disappear as if they never existed. The bicycle is one of the most efficient machines and so is the human body. When the two work together, every sense is stimulated and when that happens you feel more alive than ever. Has your phone ever made you feel that way?
While riding, I became more aware of everything around me and in the most calming way imaginable. I began to see sights differently or hear sounds from Mother Nature I’d never recognized before. I began to explore places even cell phones rarely go or no wifi signal has reached. Smiling and laughing became inevitable and sunrises became my daily view. Subjects or people I used to think were important escaped my mind. What has become important, is taking care of me first because nothing has ever cured me the way a bicycle has.
And I didn’t have to ride long or fast or be the best to realize this, I just had to ride. Even if for only 30 min. How many times have you spent 30 minutes scrolling through news feeds or apps, accomplishing nothing and more often than not, feeling pretty miserable afterwards?
You can live in the world of technology and apps. You can let the news anger you. You can sit on your couch reading newsfeeds. Or you can explore places and feelings that only bikes will go. You can feel like a kid again. You can do one thing that will make you forget to check your phone. The choice is up to you.
Heather Sawtelle can be found spending her Sundays at Local Hub getting more people on bikes. She’s a member of the FCS Regional Cycling Team and is counting down the days until cyclocross season.