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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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

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


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Sorry Guys, Girls Actually Want Attention From Other Girls

Who else knows fashion, beauty, style, or looks better than other females themselves?

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Men are ya know, "great." We love 'em (somedays). Some girls cry over men, run their lives around men, and make life choices because of men.

But, why should we try to impress men? Men don't understand the time it takes to "beat our face" with makeup. Men don't understand the soreness our arms experienced to get these perfect curls. Some men don't understand how excited we are to score big in the Urban Outfitters clearance section.

Some ladies live by "beauty is pain." But sorry guys, they are not here to impress you.

Why would some ladies spend all the time, effort, and money for men, when some men can't distinguish mascara from lipgloss.

Women are trying to impress other women.

You ever get a compliment from a fellow female and they're like, "Girl, yes girl. The outfit, the hair, YES." Ladies understand and appreciate our efforts.

Do you think what ladies post on social media is to get men pouring in their DMs? No.

We are sharing pictures to inspire and create a group of women to be creative and stylish themselves. Us ladies are trying to build an empire of strong women, and we will not spend time just to look good for men.

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