Cycling can be the key to well-being, for as many reasons as there are cyclists. I cycle everyday for work, or pleasure, or for everyday jobs like shopping, and every ride is different, even if the route is the same. Being out on the bike I become more aware of the layers of life that surround me, and often see, hear, and smell things I would never encounter in a car. Stopped at the traffic lights on Silver Street I can see the terracotta friezes high up on the buildings. Cycling down the Witham I hear cuckoos in the spring. Cycling in the countryside I can smell the meadowsweet growing in the verges.
A bike supports my well-being in at least two ways. If my day has been difficult, or if stress is building up, then the exercise of turning the pedals has an immediate effect, a release of tension. But the journey itself makes me ‘shift’ gear, and of course I am quickly going from one place to another, perhaps putting some distance between me and stress. Even cycling through a busy rush hour has its value.
The close connections of me, my environment, and my transport keep everything in balance. I feel that I am doing my bit to reduce my impact on the world by using fewer resources, taking less space, while having a greater ‘presence’ and awareness. I feel I have a fuller ‘being’ through cycling, giving value to my day and encouraging me to respect nature and the city I am cycling through.
Lincoln is fortunate to have plenty of opportunities for safe cycling. One of my ideal rides is from the city centre down the Water Rail Way, a Sustrans route that runs from Lincoln to Woodhall Spa. This is a traffic-free route next to the River Witham with its rich wildlife. Sometimes this is my commute, and sometimes it is for pleasure; sometimes I am on my own, sometimes I am with my family. Whichever way, I value it for different reasons. Same bike, same route, but always varied.