Processing risk is a really hard thing. We all need to determine what our tolerance is for risk, and what we get from riding, being outside, or moving for that matter. Anyone with stairs in their house is at risk for falling down them. If you have a pet, that risk goes up exponentially. Should we relegate ourselves to a single floor? Just stepping outside carries enormous risk. While there are coyotes wandering our streets, it’s the inattentive SUV drivers that concern me the most. How often do you see them roll well over the white line at a stop sign? How often does that happen while you’re crossing the street? For me, way more frequently than I’d like. Riding a bicycle carries risk, the faster you go, the more risk. Why do we ignore some risk, and obsess about others?
I’m the first to admit that I’m bad at quantifying risk, but in general, my leanings are well into the “risk adverse” side of things. So why do I keep riding outside, when it seems like we probably shouldn’t? The answers are simple. It keeps me sane. It makes me feel alive.
I used to play soccer for that, but time has a way of breaking down the body. For me, it started a few years ago. When the value I received from pulling on my boots started diminishing with the constant injury/rehab/recurrence cycle. During the last go ’round, I got on the bike to keep fit, and try to get healthy, and I never got off.
I should have done it sooner.
Before that, I never really understood why anyone enjoyed the suffering we endure. It seemed bizarre, but now I do. There’s purpose there. The pain is an essential part of the accomplishment. Pushing through it makes you not only faster/stronger, but more importantly it burns off all the stupid little niggles that weigh us down. For me, these moments of mindlessness (mindfulness?) are an essential outlet.
Now, to be clear, I’m not suggesting we should ignore science, math, and all that good stuff. Riding solo is my way to go. Personally, the plan is to ride as fast as I can, past anyone I come across (which, TBF, isn’t really any different than normal), while holding my breath (think of it as elevation acclimation, but without the pesky air travel) in their spittle zone. Will that work? Dunno, but it seems like a good plan to roll with. I’m much more likely to get something waiting in line at the grocery store than riding past someone on a windy day.
With all the crap going on right now, while it would be safer to hide away in a hole, I just don’t want to. Maybe that makes me bad at understanding risk, but to be honest, I don’t care…