Why Cycling Changed My Life

Cycling Saved My Life

One of the fastest-paced sports around, cycling is good for physical endurance, muscle strengthening, and mental stimulation.

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I was flying down East Main St. on my 1994 custom Marin Fire-Trail. My playlist was thumping in my head and I had hit the rhythm of the song, pushing my feet to play like percussion instruments. I had taken the sidewalk, and a car in oncoming traffic was waiting for me to cross the dip in the sidewalk so they could turn into a parking lot. There was another car sitting there too, waiting to turn out into the street and blend into the traffic. They didn't look both ways, and as soon as I rode in front of them, the hit the gas.

I gashed my left calf on the front license plate and got thrown into the pavement of the sidewalk. My bike slid alongside me, and while it did I kicked the teeth of the gear with the back of my right calf, leaving deep cuts where they had punctured my skin. I peeled most of the skin off of my hands, which had become red and raw, and the car had knocked the chain loose on my bike. I turned around to face the driver, and they put their hand over their face so I couldn't identify them. They then proceeded to blend into the traffic very quickly and take the next turn, leaving me unable to even catch their license plate. It was simple; a classic case of hit-and-run. After fixing my bike, cleaning my wounds, and talking to the other folks who were waiting on me, I remounted my bike and went on my merry way. It was then that I realized something:

I'm addicted to this ride.

I've been cycling for the last six months or so and it has done more for me than I can say. It's kept me in peak physical shape, working both my legs and lungs. It's mentally stimulating in the sense that you always have to be alert, or simple accidents like the one I had could turn into something a lot more serious. Had I not been ready to take the impact, I could've been launched into the street and died at the mercy of the oncoming cars, easily doing fifty miles per hour.

And yet, I still ride.

Biking taught me that I'm an adrenaline junkie. I'll wake up most mornings and want nothing more than to take the hills on two wheels. I love the thrill of the wind tearing at you hard enough to make your eyes water and actually having to work for your speed. The music is also a huge part of it; finding the right playlist can almost be the life or death of your ride. Regardless, the rush of feeling yourself fly on the two wheels of a bike is definitely thrilling and probably psychologically addictive. The benefits of the exercise are all there too, so there's really no downside.

If you're looking for something during this new year that's enjoyable and still physically challenging, try cycling. You'll build muscle fast depending on your commitment to riding, speed, and resistance, and you'll be in excellent cardiovascular shape. The advantages are all there, but some folks say that biking isn't as good as weightlifting or running, or other recreational sports. Some say that biking is only for the really old and really young. Some say that biking looks stupid, and they couldn't stand doing it at all.

But hey, lots of people have been wrong before, right?

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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An Incurable Disease Doesn't Change The Love I Have For You

Because one day the one you love the most is fine and the next day they're not, it causes devastation you never truly recover from.

nadoty
nadoty
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Loving someone with an incurable disease is the most emotionally straining thing I have ever experienced.

My significant other and I have been together for almost six years. During the summer of 2018, we all noticed the significant changes he was going through. He had lost around fifty pounds and had a lack of appetite. We had figured something was going on, however, we didn't realize it was anything serious.

Fast forward to the Fall semester of 2018. I had visited my boyfriend and we had expressed certain concerns, such as, through the night I would try and get him to stop uncontrollably itching his legs to the point of bleeding, or that he was looking a little yellow and was exhausted all the time. After seeing his sister in November, while I was at school, she pleaded with him to go to urgent care because he did not look good. He was yellow, exhausted, and very sickly looking. We didn't realize that the urgent care visit would be the precedent of the rest of our lives.

After coming home for Thanksgiving and spending a week straight in the hospital with him, it finally set in that something was not right. Between all the vomit, getting moved for testing, the weakness, the constant calling for medications because the pain was so severe, and the almost month-long stay in the hospital, it hit me full force that something was really wrong. Words will never truly describe the emotions I was feeling, or the burden of my thoughts that I felt were too selfish to pass on anyone, so I kept them to myself.

When we finally got the diagnosis, we were surprised. PSC, otherwise known as Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, is an incurable liver disease that affects the bile ducts which become scarred and inflamed, more likely than not lead to cirrhosis and an inevitable transplant. There was no cure, rather the only solution was a liver transplant, and even then the disease can be recurring.

I was thinking selfishly. I was torn in two. What would our future look like? Could we have children? Could we ever do the things we used to?

Loving someone with an incurable disease is a mix of emotions. There is a constant fear in the back of my mind that he is going to wake up in intense pain and have to be rushed to the hospital. There is a constant fear of every time waiting for the bi-weekly blood test results to come back, in fear that his Bilirubin spiked again or he is undergoing a flare up and needs to be hospitalized. There is a constant anxiety that one day he's going to be fine, and the next day he won't be. Even the simple things, such as laying beside one another, was a constant fear I had, due to the pain he was in every day. What if I hit him in my sleep on accident? What if I accidentally hugged a little too tightly and caused him pain?

Loving someone with an incurable disease can be a fluctuation of emotions, however, he makes it worth it.

nadoty
nadoty

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