Via @pecobikes: Message jasny?!! Thanks #worldwidecyclingatlas for nice poster.
Meditation and Cycling
I’ve written about cycling and meditation before, and thought it might help to expand the conversation. For starters, my daughter has been diagnosed with ADHD, and although undiagnosed myself, it’s pretty obvious that I’ve suffered with many of the symptoms throughout my life. I try to meditate by sitting, but this practice is usually quite unproductive. The willingness is very much there, but the simple challenge of sitting still is usually so horribly difficult, that the majority of sitting sessions become a complete disaster. Props such as mala beads help, as does walking, but they don’t seem to be enough on most days.
Enter cycling. If you find yourself in the same position as me, unable to comfortably sit still for even short periods of time, cycling might be worth a try. The concept is simple. Remove the distraction, which in this case is physical restlessness, and continue with meditation.
It takes a small amount of time for proper mental adjustment to begin during cycling. You get that initial surge of excitement, and some adrenaline kicks in. But eventually, as your body begins to acclimate, you get that wonderful calming rush of endorphines to the brain. Your mind falls in line with the cadence of your pedaling. The repetition of your feet establishes the meditation session. The rhythmic sound of your tires and your cranks, and every noisy or vibrating part of your bike becomes intrinsic to the meditation. The bike becomes the glue that binds your focus. Your mind empties and becomes still. You stop thinking, and just ride.
Everything else pretty much falls away. You see the road and obstacles ahead of you, but muscle memory takes care of 99% of the work. If there is a brief distraction (read pothole, car turning, dog barking) you acknowledge the distraction, act accordingly, and bring your focus back to the cadence. The cycling becomes very calm, very relaxing, and time seems to slow down greatly.
The hard part of meditative cycling is endurance. Once you reach a certain level of physical distress, maybe due to legs aching or butt hurting, the distress can become a distraction. Fortunately, the more you cycle, the more your body becomes physically conditioned for longer mediation sessions. If you’re particularly keen at meditation, you can even use the physical discomfort as your focus for a period of time.
Tips? Sure thing. Get a bicycle that fits you comfortably. The longer you can ride comfortably, the easier it will be. Choose long roads with as little vehicular distraction as possible. Try to avoid hills. Obvious stuff here.
Living where hills are seemingly everywhere, I’ve always ridden bikes with plenty of gears to make climbs easier. I’ll be taking a different tactic this year, now that my body has become well conditioned to riding in this environment. I’ll be riding predominantly fixed gear this year. People have been telling me for years about how wonderful it is to ride a fixed gear bicycle. They say that you become one with the bike, due to the substantially increased road feel, and the direct drive between the cranks and the rear wheel. After just a couple of brief rides so far, I can indeed see the advantage of riding a fixed gear for meditation. If the physical strength of my legs can handle the hills, I truly believe that this new bike will actually help to elevate the meditative experience.
Protected Intersections For Bicyclists
Protected bike lanes are the latest approach US cities are taking to help their residents get around by bike. But these protected lanes lose their buffer separation at intersections, reducing the comfort and safety for people riding.
What the protected bike lane needs is the protected intersection.
This proposal for the George Mason University 2014 Cameron Rian Hays Outside the Box Competition presents a vision for a safe, clear intersection design that improves conditions for all users. Proper design of refuge islands, crossing position and signal timing can create a safe intersection that people of all ages and abilities would feel safe in.
'For 300 years after the Buddha's death there were no Buddha images. The people's practice with the image of the Buddha, there was no need to externalize it. But in time, as the practice was lost, people began to place the Buddha outside of their own minds, back in time and space. As the concept…