The last month has been, or so, has been quiet from me. I’ve been busy, and finding time to write, never mind cycling, has been challenging. I’ve been working on gaining mindfulness and counselling qualifications. I’d found a lot of help in my life through being more mindful. Now I want to pass that teaching on.
One of the first ways this will happen is that Socialtrack will be offering mindful cycling sessions through NHS social prescribing routes. The second way is that I will offer 1:1 or group sessions through the blog. The second option will be a paid-for option. I’ll pop all the stuff you need to book online when the classes are ready.
The classes will not be as much tracklocross per se, but there will be the use of single speed and fixed gear bikes. Over my years in the bike trade, I’ve discovered that many people have anxiety over which gear to be in or, as commuters, use 2 or 3 gears maximum. Simple bikes make it easier to teach mindfulness as there are fewer distractions.
The cost of living and cycling
Given that most entry-level bikes now feature bad or unneeded parts to make them look more “pro”. During this cost of living crisis, it is time to remember that simple bikes can bring joy and function just as you need them to.
Rising costs feed into anxieties. It is easy to tell someone to get a bike, which will help them with their mental health, but we need to be realistic and realise that a £500 bike is a huge commitment for many people. Now, thanks to Brexit and the pandemic, that £500 bike is nowhere near as good as it was two years ago.
You can get a good single speed/ fixed gear bike for that price. It will last you for years. A simple hybrid or mountain bike for £500 will come with suspension forks that feature a plastic insert. These will wear out and leave you with bills sooner than you think. You’ll get gears with a derailleur that might not be the best. The derailleur then makes shifting a chore. The bike shaped object will never be able to work perfectly.
The holistic approach to mindfulness
We often look at active or sustainable travel by itself and ignore that we need to look at mental health and costs. Yes, cycling is cheaper than a car, and that argument has already been won, so there must be other issues at stake.
Firstly, we have made cycling a hobby for children until they can get a car. Secondly, we followed this up by also making it a hobby for well-off middle-class people. We then tend to employ gatekeepers to keep it this way. Open cycling media, and all you see will all be about how you need 12 speed, or you need carbon, and it will all make you faster.
You don’t need that to make cycling fun because, news flash, cycling is fun. We need to take those cost anxieties away. Hurl those speed anxieties away. Finally, we need to destroy those Lycra anxieties. We need to look at the whole of the problem and not just parts. By doing that, we can eliminate stress and get people out enjoying simple bikes.
I’ll teach you breathwork and how to meditate on your journey to becoming more relaxed. You’ll feel better and realise that cycling is not a race except in those times when you might have entered a race. You’ll get back to nature and enjoy the world and the simplicity of cycling mindfully. I will cover these issues in the mindfulness course.