Mindfulness as a Cyclist

Grand Tours Project

Dec / 22 / 2020

Recent years have been full of intense and crazy situations. This Christmas, the GTP team suggest we all draw from this year's experiences (not discounting the multitude of disadvantages and tragedies) and find the beautiful aspects we've learnt from isolating, from drastic lockdowns and the international travel restrictions.

We invite you to reflect and give thanks for everything you have and to discover small but gigantic moments that provide enormous satisfaction. From the simplest things in life like a smile, a thank you or a wave from a stranger, the wind in your face while you ride, the birds singing, or a big "YEAH!" with your arms raised when you reach the top of the mountain (Editor's comment: ok maybe in your imagination…we suggest you keep at least one hand on the bars unless you are Uri! :P).

We have a few simple Mindfulness actions that you can do anywhere – on your bike or …anywhere!

Practice Gratitude

On your next ride, when you are about to hit the first pedal, STOP and take a minute to observe yourself from head to toe, contemplate your bike, the road and everything around you. Take a deep breath and be thankful for the simple fact of being there, about to leave and go on a great new adventure.

Above: Giro 2019 - Stage 11

Focus on your breath

While climbing an epic giant on the Alps or your local hill, or into a head wind, focus a moment on your breathing. Breathing is happening with or without our conscious awareness, but by bringing our attention to it we can help our mind focus, lower the heartbeat a little and find the right rhythm for you to finish climbing in good time and a constant pace.

Observe Your Thoughts

Before and during your ride consider your thoughts. Try to identify where they came from and name the feelings they produce in you. A simple way is to try to stop what you're doing and start observing your thoughts. Can you do that? What do you notice? Try it and see what happens! Sometimes problems are solved, decisions are made, ideas are formulated.

Fire Up Your Five Senses

You’ve reached your epic mountain summit or completed a goal that once seemed impossible – STOP take a deep breath and embrace the sensations of everything around you.

If your achievement is a mountain summit, take a deep breath and smell the forest aroma and pure air; look closely at the mountains, the horizon, and the forest; become aware of the sensations of your body, how your legs feel, the pressure on your feet after pedalling full gas, and the temperature on your body in this moment. Drink some water and take a bite out of your energy bar, feel the flavour, the texture and the consistency and finally pay attention to all the sounds you can appreciate, including the friction of your hands when you tighten the handlebars of your bicycle or when you adjust your helmet, or the wind blowing.

True Compliments

You can do this at every moment of your daily life, but if out riding with a group and you meet a friend or anyone, do not hesitate to give them a genuine compliment. Tell them how good it is to be out riding; that they look great; that their pedalling style or climbing momentum has improved or is looking good. The more specific, the better. You may then realise the compliments you are getting and help you focus on the good details instead of pain, pessimism and comparisons. You will also see what a good effect it will have on all the members of the group.

We sincerely hope you have a beautiful Christmas that is memorable, that you are able to spend time with your loved ones. If not, remember that science has found ways to manage the virus and that 2021 will be back under control and life will continue, albeit with a greater awareness of all those things that we value and once took for granted.

Stay motivated, stay safe, keep smiling and when you can, keep pedalling!