Cycling is a Philosophy—Philosophy of Life

'As our wheels sped up, our minds slowed down.'

‘As our wheels sped up, our minds slowed down.’ – Giant Bicycle’s Formosa 900 Ride

Cycling is a unique sport. It can be played alone. It can be played with thousands of others. No other sports in the world allow for such freedom. And we, fellow cyclists, are the very essence that makes up the sport itself.

Despite being one of the most sociable sports, cycling is surprisingly solitary. It represents an aspect of life, a philosophy of living. At its core, there are us, and then there are the bikes. That’s it, all about ourselves. We can go the distance so epic, or we can go nowhere at all; that is solely upon our minds.

Unwavering mentality is the strongest juice known to mankind. It tortures the legs so fiercely even when the sour lactate is making the legs scream. Conversely, the strongest legs are nothing in the control of an irresolute mind. Incapable of even shoving the body out of the comfort of cozy bed and cool conditioned air, the mind then moves the legs to nowhere.

And that is life itself. When it’s filled with hope, it yields to no hardships and accomplishes incredible feats. When it’s overwhelmed by weakness, it plunges into unfathomable depth of desperation. To move or to stall is entirely our decision, our achievement, our fault. Nothing can bring the stars down from the sky. Nothing can block your way to your goal if you have the will to move forwards. Set out to clear your mind. Get it moving. Stomp the pedals with your angst and your agony until nothing is left. Never let despair falter your strong will.

In our club rides, we are accompanied by our fellow cyclists. Some attack. Some tag behind. Some pace the pack. Cyclists are essentially an assembly of people of various mindsets. There are people who like to display the strength and excel, and then there are those who devote their strengths to make sure the group stick together. There are people who turn around and ask if you could still complete the journey, and then there are those who just pedal away like it’s nobody’s business.

And that is life itself. Every encounter with another person is different. Some benefit from you, some actually do care for you. Some can never get along with you no matter how much time was spent, some clicked right away like you’ve known them for ages. What is important is to stay close to those who encourage to push you forwards, not those who drop you behind. Stay with them so you can achieve the distance you could never do alone. Stay with them so your life continues to move forwards.

Bicycles can only move forwards (unless you’re riding a fixie obviously).We might be so tired, might get dropped, and might stop for a breath. But in the end, the road only paves forwards. The pedals only spin the wheels forwards. We clipped into our pedals again, only to resume and move on. We might traverse the same road on the opposite side, but remember that is also moving forward in another direction. We can never turn the wheels backwards. Never.

And that is life itself. The kilometres covered are over, good or bad. Some moments in life are so memorable you wish it could last forever, others not so much. In scientific fact, memories with strong emotional impact—positively and negatively alike—are memorised better by our brain than organised, systematic, and unemotional ones. We need not embrace the good and forget the bad. More than likely our brains will not allow for such selective memorisation. The proper way is not to forget, but to embrace them all instead. If the delightful moments motivate you, then let the painful ones remind you of the decisions that did not turn out to your favour. If the delightful moments impress you, then let the painful ones emphasise how meaningful happiness is.

So now it’s your turn. Go out and ride. Find your own meaning to cycling. Find the philosophy of life hidden in it.

DT philo
Go out and ride

By เทียนไท สังขพันธานนท์

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