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Every cyclist's spirituality

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Every cyclist's spirituality

Old 01-14-23, 05:55 PM
  #1  
holytrousers
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Every cyclist's spirituality

We know the risks are the same for everyone, but having been a victim of a hit and run accident in the past, i know from personnal experience that it's harder to overcome the fear to go back to cycling than to go back to walking down the streets.
Be rational, do the right thing, be brave and nothing bad will happen to you. This is what i say to myself.
I think it comes down to really being present, in the "here and now".

How about you ?
Where do you find confidence ?
How do you deal with road-related anxiety ? Do you have any rituals ? Any lessons to share ?
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Old 01-14-23, 06:34 PM
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Guess I don't qualify. I've had a couple close calls, but never had a legit cycle/auto encounter. Given my past experiences, I don't really know if it would affect me all that much. Hell, I was cycling with a broken wrist four weeks after I broke it in a crash. Not to say I'm not more aware or more cautious now, but I'm still going to get out there and do it.
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Old 01-14-23, 07:13 PM
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I got hit once, person left hooking me. I was not really injured, just bounced off the hood onto asphalt.

Not for a minute did I think about the risk factor nor ever consider never riding again, I got on the bike after that hit and kept going. That was easily 30 years ago. Life goes on.
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Old 01-14-23, 08:08 PM
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I've never had a "bad" hit from any kind of vehicle, knock on wood, but in about the last 3-4 years, I've had several close calls, with a few of those being hits from cars, which knocked me off my bike.

I figure I've got at least one guardian angel looking out for me, and that's been true all my life, on bikes or off. ✌️

I know it's not "cool" these days to be spiritual, but I'm a believer anyways. 😉
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Old 01-14-23, 08:14 PM
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Been hitandrunned too and what really shook me up was that one of my wealthy, educated, liberal, neighbors would leave me unconscious on the road and go about their business. I knew all about the risk after fifty years of riding in traffic and getting hit several times.

I do another risky sport, ocean racing, were people die every year, but safety is something you can really do something about. Hundreds of years of wisdom and evolving doctrine, real research, personal skill and experience, thousands of dollars worth of safety gear, all keep people alive when things go very bad indeed. You can learn from every experience, read another book, take another course, buy another gizmo, or practice another skill. Im a good sailor at this point and I sail with even better ones, but you know what? Despite all that stuff, I get scared, sometimes sickeningly scared, when things get sporty offshore.

Cycling is a lot more dangerous. Theres nothing you can do to protect yourself beyond basic skills, equipment, and prudence, and your life is in the hands of the dumbest, meanest, asshat on the road. However, its totally different emotional experience for me. I rarely give the danger a thought. Just something about the cognitive framing gets my dumb old ass out there on the road every day.

That said, I carried lots of life and disability insurance when those things mattered economically to my family, and have good long-term care insurance now. My will, DPOAs, etc are up to date, and my wife is down with the situation.
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Old 01-14-23, 08:36 PM
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holytrousers, the bike is a real part of my spirituality. I've had my crashes, some very real and with long term consequences. No hit and run, yet. I've been doored and hit by someone running their red in the middle of my sequence.

What gets me back on the bike is the knowledge that I have to if I want to tap back into that spirituality. That and the thought/obsession of a former racer that I have to get back on the bike ASAP to loose as little as possible. (Both fitness and bike confidence.) Now, one blessing I received is that I have zero memory of my "big one". It happened bunny hopping a pavement break I'd been hopping all that summer. With my coma, that entire ride is gone. The next summer I hopped that same break 100 times, no issue at all.
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Old 01-14-23, 09:22 PM
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”I think it comes down to really being present, in the "here and now".
How about you ?


A major part of my ‘here and now’ is situational awareness. Am constantly monitoring my surroundings including vehicles, animals, weather and road conditions. I try to stay off high speed highways and especially those frequented by large trucks.

Where do you find confidence ?

Confidence comes from experience and in the knowledge that I fully accept the associated risks. If not, I would probably exclusively ride gravel or MTB.
". I don’t try to put myself into any state or self-talk before a ride. But if self-talk works for you - I will be fine, I accept the risk, the chance of being hit is so remote, it isn’t worth entertaining, etc.

How do you deal with road-related anxiety ? Do you have any rituals ? Any lessons to share ?

I have a few close calls by inattentive drivers. Yes they are unnerving at the time but disappear on subsequent rides. I remind myself that cycling is a game of long odds. One event in the tens of thousands of hours demonstrates to me the odds are long. However, one also has to be realistic that no matter how long the odds, you just never know when you may have another incident, and again that gets back to accepting the risk. The benefit I gain is worth the risk.

Best wishes for many great future, anxiety free rides.

Almost forgot; I am pragmatic so spirituality doesn’t enter into my decision making. I am also not afraid to die. Being a para-or quadriplegic however is frightening.
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Old 01-14-23, 09:50 PM
  #8  
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I just recently had my first ever collision with a car in 60+ years of bicycling. They didn't stop when they were turning left and I was going straight. Stoplight controlled intersection. My right off way. Glancing blow, so no harm to me. They need to get that fender repainted...studded tires!

Less than a week later I fell on an icy sidewalk where the roof gutters are run onto the sidewalk. In a climate with days that freeze and thaw that is negligence.

I still get up in the morning, say a quick " modeh ani" and go on with the day, aware that Shlomo the Wise was right... time and chance happen to all. I'm still walking on the sidewalk.

What else should I do? Spit over my shoulder while standing on one foot? Life is a joyous gift and meant to be lived.

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Old 01-15-23, 05:49 AM
  #9  
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To me, this isnt about spirituality; its about probability.
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Old 01-15-23, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by DangerousDanR View Post
...I still get up in the morning, say a quick " modeh ani" and go on with the day...
Modeh Ani's okay as a general offering of thanks, but Tfilat Haderech covers more of the specific threats faced by cyclists:

"May it be Your will, G‑d, our G-d and the G‑d of our fathers, that You should lead us in peace and direct our steps in peace, and guide us in peace, and support us in peace, and cause us to reach our destination in life, joy, and peace (If one intends to return immediately, one adds: and return us in peace). Save us from every enemy and ambush, from robbers and wild beasts on the trip, and from all kinds of punishments that rage and come to the world. May You confer blessing upon the work of our hands and grant me grace, kindness, and mercy in Your eyes and in the eyes of all who see us, and bestow upon us abundant kindness and hearken to the voice of our prayer, for You hear the prayers of all. Blessed are You G‑d, who hearkens to prayer." *

Following your ride you may wish to "bench gomel", especially if you follow minhag sephardi:

"The Ashkenaziccustom is to make the blessing only when traveling through deserts, but not on regular roads. If one travels through the desert via railroad, which does not involve any of the regular desert dangers, one would not say the blessing. TheSephardiccustom however is to say the blessing even on travel through regular roads if it is more than the distance of 2.4 miles."**

While the Tamudic tractate Berachot seems to cover most cases of what prayers and how and when to say them, even more pertinent to cyclists is the apocryphal tractate Ofanayim...often cited as the inspiration for, if not the actual basis of The Velominati.***


* https://www.chabad.org/library/artic...at-and-Why.htm
** https://www.chabad.org/library/artic...at-and-Why.htm
***https://www.velominati.com
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Old 01-15-23, 09:18 AM
  #11  
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Bobby:
. The point is that I don't consider riding a bicycle around here to be a dangerous journey. It is a regular part of a day for which I am thankful.

DD
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Old 01-15-23, 09:22 AM
  #12  
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I switched to trail riding about thirty years ago. It seems both safer and more relaxing and enjoyable, at least for me. But these days I hardly count, since Ive mainly switched to running and a bit of walking.

Otto
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Old 01-15-23, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post

How about you ?
Where do you find confidence ?
How do you deal with road-related anxiety ? Do you have any rituals ? Any lessons to share ?
"The only reason you fear is you haven't enough love."----Some lyric from some random electronica/chill music.

It seems appropriate here.
Ask yourself: How many people are going to show up at your funeral? Lots? Good. Ok. Carry-on. You are safe in community, you are safe in life. Your fears are unfounded. Go ride your bike.

Few? Then change. Anxiety is caused by insecurity. Create the social engagement that brings security, place & purpose. Be bold. Seek these connections, create these connections. Be of service. Serve others. Especially those of different background & lower socio-economic status. Turn off the media streams (social & otherwise) & do service in person & do it daily. You will soon find yourself integrated & secure. Safe.
Safe enough to ride your bike fear free.

Last edited by base2; 01-15-23 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 01-15-23, 09:51 AM
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My confidence comes from knowing I am the most intelligent man who ever lived and do everything better than anyone else can with what I have to work with. Been riding on public highways and roads over a half-century, I am as close to being a god as there is. If I do crash I just shake it off and get back on the bike and go on my merry way. Someday something is going to take me out, that happens to everyone, if you happen to expire while having fun then that is a win.

Suggested reading would be Dialogue between a Priest and a Dying Man, by the Marquis DeSade.
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Old 01-15-23, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by DangerousDanR View Post
Bobby:
. The point is that I don't consider riding a bicycle around here to be a dangerous journey. It is a regular part of a day for which I am thankful.
DD
Same here. I'm a (mostly) daily bike commuter, and fortunate to have route options that are mostly paths and side streets.

I was just having a little fun with my post.

To be more pertinent, I'll say the three main accessories that give me confidence (in order of importance) are horns, mirrors and lights. I've been commuting with AirZound airhorns for 28 years. They give me a voice in traffic. Good mirrors let me find my place in traffic (in my case the Take-a-Look glasses-mounted mirror), and lights, including up high on my helmet let others see me in traffic.

And I guess experience itself gives me confidence. This is my 30th year of bike commuting and I am confident that any vehicle at any time can do something illogically, carelessly or even intentionally aggressive, so I ride a little more defensively each year, using what I have learned to avoid putting myself in peril as much as possible.

The more spiritual aspects of cycling I save for safer, more open roads.
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Old 01-15-23, 10:29 AM
  #16  
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Good morning everyone!

Fell asleep last night trying to get through all of the well thought out replies.

Finished reading them all up to this point and I feel that few responses have actually addressed the topic adequately. Because the replies have become lists of rational behaviors, and rational behavior doesn't cohere directly with spirituality, therefore the responses have become the familiar litany, each listed piece of advice like a prayer bead spoken out loud as exoteric tokens of something profoundly esoteric.

Perhaps there are occult and taboo practices among us. I bet there are.

I applaud the responses that attest to the use of things like mascots like figureheads as some sort of magical talismans or simply interesting things to remind us to have fun and be careful.

I appreciate the one who confided that they believe in angels.

In counterpoint to these two examples I read scores of posts about mirrors and visual appearance.

Superstition is not spirituality, but it is in that category.

On long rides, and short, I've mulled over many things in my mind, from the mundane to the sublime. Over the years I know I've attained a few moments which have a spiritual quality to them.

Like what? You may ask, or not. Depending.

Not cogent here, most of the mentation didn't relate to cycling safety.

However there have been moments of situational awareness to which I would place in the category of intuition and the proverbial hunch.

I pay serious attention to my intuition. I think there is a spiritual element to this practice. It feels that way. However my rational mind just comes to the conclusion that this is simply the microbiotic gut and autonomous nervous system just acting in their own interests. Truly, sometimes I think the ego which I describe as me, is simply a vessel for the intentions of our culture and the millions of beings that live in and on me.

And so I try not to behave like an imperious and insensitive CEO and enslave my body parts to exhaustion, malnutrition, and death.

I have to laugh along with the old trope: There is no "I" in team.

Another odd thing, to which some will say is crazy, and some will identify with, are the voices in my head. Who hasn't tried to come up with a "good" Strava title for an activity which is underway? (The answer is anyone who doesn't use Strava.) Just the simple act of trying to compose prose while riding employs a facility for voices in the head.

And then there is the "ear-worm" which is another kind of voice in the head.

The illumination and revelation of a situation can sometimes be accessed by the means of intention.

The practice of lucid dreaming can be applied to the so called waking state in which we live. For I do believe [LOL a loaded term] I do go around, and others may as well, in a kind of sleep, and even ride asleep.

Because safety is utmost, I read all of the posts so that I would leave no stone unturned here. No offense intended - most of the advice was the same old useful crap.

As a child I was taught to pray and learned how do it. I try to humble myself. I've had some accidents: hit from behind, hit from side, right hook, dodged left hooks (where the only out is difficult), heckled by bigots, had bottles thrown at me, rode into curbs, low sided, misjudged many-a-thing, crashed on perilous mountain bike descents, engaged a bad squirrel, and performed stupid maneuvers in this life so far.

I endeavor to wake up and be happy each day with the intention of having another safe ride. If I don't feel like riding, I don't.

The bicycle is an instrument we play. As child I was instructed to address the piano with respect and upon performance begin in earnest.

My final rational piece of advice:

Maintain your equipment and perform pre-trip inspections,
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Old 01-15-23, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
... My will, DPOAs, etc are up to date, and my wife is down with the situation.
...I have already selected my epitaph.

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Old 01-15-23, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by beng1 View Post
My confidence comes from knowing I am the most intelligent man who ever lived and do everything better than anyone else can with what I have to work with.
You should write a self-help book for people who lack self-confidence.
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Old 01-15-23, 05:09 PM
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When I was commuting to work at age 33 I was rear ended by a woman doing 40mph in an automobile. No lasting injury, but a messed up bike. Had to take her to small claims court to recover the cost of the bike. At the age of 58 I was nearly run over by a guy driving his truck home from the doctor after receiving pain treatments. I ended up pushing myself off the of the bed to avoid being caught under it. He was doing at least 40mph. I watched in amazement as his truck bounced in and over the roadside ditch and stopped after hitting a road sign.

Initially gun shy, but also understood both times it was an anomaly, out of the norm, and does not occur often enough to stop riding the roads I like and use. Fear is fear, it is rationally debilitating and prevents most of us from doing things we are capable of doing or wanting to do. I know where I am going once this old body gives up the ghost, thus I have no fear of the other side of life because I am confident of the experience it will be. As for this side of life, I've done almost all I need to do here and am ready to move on when it is time to do so.
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Old 01-15-23, 05:30 PM
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"Momento mori" sums up my thoughts on this topic both because of the risks of crashing or getting hit while cycling, and also because riding a bike makes us aware of our bodies and how they change over time (and that they will not last forever). I've been hit before and hurt badly when crashing, and I know that my risk of facing death goes up whenever I throw a leg over a bike, but I make a deliberate choice to continue to do so anyways because I see riding bikes as part of living to the fullest and a valuable thing to do with some of the finite amount of time I have left to live.
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Old 01-15-23, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
Do you have any rituals
420.

Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
How do you deal with road-related anxiety?
See above.
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Old 01-15-23, 06:07 PM
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Maybe I am wrong but this thread has a potential to end up in P&R.
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Old 01-16-23, 03:14 AM
  #23  
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Ive been hit three times and its never occurred to me that I should stop, perhaps Im just not smart enough to understand the consequences.
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Old 01-16-23, 10:02 AM
  #24  
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On this MLK day, we would do well to reflect upon the reality that "spirituality" is really a question of morality. If we ponder on that and look around us, we see that almost everything we see that was made by humans was made at a great cost to other people. We usually try not to think about that, but millions of people all over the world suffer and die that we lucky ones who live in these powerful industrial countries might have nice things. And if we ponder on that for a while, we realize that the only truly moral thing we can do is to pick up our begging bowl and walk out the door in the clothes we have on. And then we realize that our relationship to the Ineffable is one of compost. Finally understanding that, we see that we can get on our bikes and ride wherever we want without fear.
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Old 01-16-23, 02:12 PM
  #25  
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I dunno about spirituality...

Back in my late 20's I was run off the road by a woman driving with her knee and putting on makeup, on a rural road with many curves. She just kept on going and never looked back. Around the same time a local rider was hit and killed by a dump truck... I hung the bike up for 20 years.

Now I limit where and when I ride on the roads. Spend most of my time on the local bike path and riding in farm country early mornings on the weekends. Spend a some time riding on the limited local gravel roads...

That being said, my major crashes with injuries happened while riding on a trail with no traffic. I can deal with that, crashes are part of the deal for cyclists... but crashes and getting hit by a dump truck are not the same thing!!
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