5 Reasons We’re Thankful for Cycling this Thanksgiving

With another year passed, we have more miles under our belts, more new friends, and more reasons than ever to be grateful for cycling. 

People take up cycling for countless different reasons - whether it’s a way to challenge themselves, meet new people, spend more time outdoors, get fit, or find a better way to get to work - but whatever our reasons, backgrounds, and abilities, we learn many of the same lessons along the way.

Here are our top five reasons why we’re grateful for cycling in 2021. Here’s to another year of adventures!

1. We’re Grateful for a Sense of Stability

The past couple of years have been a wild ride. From lockdowns to life changes to the (mostly delightful) chaos of the festive season, when things get a little overwhelming experts agree that keeping a daily routine helps us cope with change, reduces stress, and improves our personal relationships.

While the festive season is mostly filled with positivity, it can still be a little chaotic - especially if you’re the one hosting Thanksgiving this year. When things get hectic, it’s more important than ever to practice self-care and carve out some time to do the things that make you feel good.

With your usual cycling routine disrupted by the festive season, try waking up a little earlier to get a ride in while the rest of the world is asleep or, if you have a stationary bike, carve out even just ten minutes to get your blood pumping.

If you’re traveling for the holidays, remember that Sundays Insurance has your back. Your bike is covered for damage or loss sustained during domestic transit, damage while being transported on your bike rack, and even loss or damage worldwide for up to 90 days if you activate this optional coverage.

2. We’re Grateful we can Enjoy Stress-Free Feasting

Diet culture has perpetuated the idea that exercise is something you should use to burn off excess calories (of which there will surely be many over Thanksgiving), but this can turn into a pretty harmful way to relate to food, your body, and exercise.

If you’re rushing to get on your bike to burn off your Thanksgiving feast straight after your meal, stop. Take a few deep breaths. You don’t need to feel guilty for indulging, especially if you’re consistently healthy and active for the rest of the year.

Instead of feeling negatively about how much you might have eaten during the festive season, try re-framing it this way: Your body needs fuel, but so does your mind. Sometimes, letting yourself take a break and enjoy delicious foods with your nearest and dearest is exactly what your mind needs, even if your body is a bit confused by all the extra calories.

Your trusty bicycle will be there for you once you’ve digested your meal, have taken an all-important post-meal nap, and spent some time basking in your loved ones’ company. There’s no rush.

3. We’re Grateful that our Bikes Have Our Backs for Life

From your very first tricycle, to your gravel grinder, MTB, or road bike, to one day trading in your beloved bicycle for an easygoing ebike - there’s a bike for every phase of your life, no matter your age or physical abilities.

Being able to keep active is a gift no one should ever take for granted, and cycling is amazingly accessible to people from all walks of life. 

Wheelchair bikes enable an able-bodied person and wheelchair-dependent person to cycle together. Low step-through bicycles and ebikes are perfect for those with wrist, back, or hip problems. eBikes empower people to enjoy freedom and independence, where a standard bicycle may be too physically demanding. There are countless types of bicycles (and modifications that can be made to bicycles) that allow everyone to participate.

Like an old friend you can call up anytime no matter how long it’s been since you last spoke, cycling will always be there for you when you need it! 

4. We’re Grateful for Lessons in Humility

Maybe you’re a serious cyclist who dutifully logs your miles and competes with others (and yourself) on a regular basis. Or perhaps you’re a newly converted commuter who just wants to feel a little less winded by the time you reach the office. 

Whatever kind of cyclist you are, it’s almost a guarantee that you’re riding with certain goals in mind. Whether it’s improving your personal best before a big event or slowly improving your fitness over time, everyone rides with their own backgrounds, abilities, and expectations.

Sometimes you’ll meet - or even exceed - your expectations, and sometimes you’ll fall short. 

Things like recovering from an injury, spending the winter bundled up indoors, or massive life changes like moving, starting a new job, or having kids, can all lead us to becoming frustrated with ourselves if we aren’t reaching our goals as quickly as we hoped. That’s where the lesson comes in.

No matter how dedicated you are, you’ll have good and bad days - both on the bike and off it. If there’s one universal lesson that cycling teaches us, it’s to always “get back on the saddle,” no matter how many times you get knocked off.

5. We’re Grateful for Moments of Meditation

When most people think of meditation, they think of cross-legged yogi's sitting in silence - but meditation can be so much more than that! While some people do prefer silence, focusing on their breathing, or repeating a mantra, moving meditation is just as powerful.

Defined as, “an active form of meditation where the movement guides you into a deeper connection with your body and the present moment,” moving meditation is what happens when you’re completely immersed in the moment, not on any specific goal or ruminating thoughts.

It goes by many names, including “cyclist’s high” and can be applied to many different forms of movement that are repetitive, such as running, walking, cycling, or even knitting. Anything that your muscle memory is comfortable enough with that you don’t have to consciously think about your next move.

If you haven’t yet experienced the joy of a moving meditation while cycling, next time you hop on your bike, free yourself from any expectation of a goal. No target distance or speed. Just enjoy the experience. Take some time to really notice your surroundings - whether it’s the landscape, cityscape, or other people going about their daily lives. Pay attention to your senses, the smells, the feeling of the road under your bike. 

But mostly, try to keep your head clear of any distracting thoughts about the past or future. Stay in the present. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back - there’s a reason it’s called “meditation practice”. It takes some practice! 

Remember, try to select a route without motorists. Being around motorists automatically makes many of us hypervigilant - which is great for our safety, but not so great for moving meditation.