May is Mental Health Awareness month, and if you weren't already privy, an important time to reflect on why we do what we do on bikes. One could argue we ride for sanity, improving cardiovascular fitness, lowering stress levels, etc. Others might argue we have to BE insane to navigate twisted ribbons of dirt and rock under the cover of night. So which is it, are we saving our psyches or indulging our "crazy"?
This, of course, is a subjective inquiry, and one which touches upon the delicate balance inherent in a cycling life. Anyone who has purposely plunged their DTI to get their cycling "fix" can attest to the resulting spousal or other relationship issues, the rising stress levels, and the need to seek another ride to counter the last, and on the cycle (pun intended) goes.
Meanwhile, as we ponder our own place in the pantheon of pedaling pathology, the good folks doing research on the benefits of cycling have added some compelling evidence. According to one source*, cycling can mitigate the effects of ADHD, Parkinsons, and even allowed Einstein to "reflect usefully on emotional troubles". In fact, one author stated riding a bike was like "taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin". Cocktail, anyone?
So, there we have it. Cycling is scientifically proven to act like a drug, and if you do enough of it, you may find yourself not only on the path to mental wellbeing, but perhaps pondering relativity, as Einstein did aboard his trusty steed.
I'll be pondering Pabst Blue Ribbon, Pain, and Pepperplant tomorrow night. Anyone else interested?