When my weeks are too busy to handle, when there are too many things I have to think about and too my schedule is too full, I get on my bicycle and start cycling. A couple of years ago, I discovered the healing powers of cycling for me, the peace I feel when I get on my bicycle and start moving. I have never owned a proper bike, I never spend more than €20,- on a bike. No matter how crappy my bikes are, I cover kilometers of roads with them, feeling a little better than I did before I started my trip.
It is not about a bicycle
My bicycle has proven to be a great tool in winning the daily fight with my ADHD devil. Whenever I would have a day in which he is getter stronger, when he is gaining more control, I can make him smaller by cycling. In this post I will write about what aspects of cycling make me heal, make me better, but to be honest, it is not really about cycling. This post is about the elements I experience in cycling that make my ADHD angel get bigger than the devil, that make me reconnect to myself, that remove the chaos and bring me some joy. However, similar elements I can find in walking, gardening, gaming, painting and so much more. I just choose a bicycle to explain the things that make me feel good because I recently lost this part of my ADHD therapy and I needed to remind myself of the great things it was giving me.
What a bike does for me
A bike can bring me anywhere
The best feeling a bicycle can give me is the feeling of being able to go anywhere. With just a bit of strength and endurance, I can go anywhere I want to go, completely by myself, without anything to rely on besides my own body, and the bike of course.
In the past years I very often had to go to the city I grew up in to take care of my parents and grandparents. This city is 70km away and easiest to reach by train in just 20 minutes but whenever time allowed me, I went there on my bike. 2 to 3 hours of suffering on a rickety old bike without any gears or proper breaks. But whenever I would come close to my destination, all the feelings of exhaustion would disappear and I would be overtaken by joy and pride.
A bike makes me feel free
The ability to go anywhere without any resources, using just my own body, creates a huge feeling of freedom. When I cycle, nothing else matters. Time becomes irrelevant and I don’t use my phone. During the time I spend on my bike only I am important, I disconnect form everything and I feel total freedom.
Often I cycle through fields and forests, really early in the morning when the world is still asleep and I am completely on my own. Being alone in the nature far from the crowdedness of the city makes me feel extremely free. Free to do anything I want, surrounded by the most beautiful nature without anything to disturb me.
A bike makes me connect
Sunshine, wind and rain, every type of weather is experienced stronger on a bike. When I’m cycling, I feel connected to the nature and the weather. On days I feel sad, there is nothing more relieving than cycling through the rain. When my tears mix with the raindrops and my clothes get soaking wet, I calm down and the sadness slowly disappears. And on the days I get on my bicycle to feel joy, the sun makes my experience even better by brightening up everything I pass, making it shine and increasing the beauty.
Wind adds a challenge to cycling as well as a reword. The most amazing thing is trying to get as far as I can with the wind against me, trying to be as fast as possible, using all my energy until all my muscles burn. On the way back this same challenger will be able to take me back home without any effort, accelerating on the strength of the wind, connecting to the weather.
A bike slows down my chaos
My mind is often occupied by the devil’s chaos which is almost impossible to organize using just my mental strength. The mental chaos inside me needs to be treated with physical activity, the movement of body releases the restless energy that causes the mental chaos and this is how cycling calms me down.
The ADHD devils strongest competitor is movement, and for me cycling is the easiest form of physical activity since I often find myself on a bike and I don’t need much motivation to cycle some extra kilometers at times I am already cycling.
Try to find your bike
I live in the Netherlands, which gives me a natural affection for bicycles that made it easy for me to turn cycling into my ADHD medication. However, many countries aren’t as bicycle friendly as this one and you might think this bicycle treatment is useless in the country you live in. But your bike doesn’t need to have the shape of a bicycle.
The important thing is to find something that creates the same effect for you. Something that makes you disconnect from the world and slows down the chaos. Maybe it’s a walk, maybe it’s making music or maybe it’s baking a cake. The shape of your bike might even change as time passes but in the fight with the ADHD devil it is important to know what your own bike looks like. To know what you have to do when you get trapped in the devil’s chaos, to know what will always help you to find a way out.
When you loose your bike
I recently lost my bike, and this make me loose myself. I lost the thing that helped me to stay in control because I forgot to use it for too long. Finding a new bike is hard, but I found it in my writing which I now cherish for helping me to recreate order inside the chaos. Writing now functions as my strongest ADHD drug bit this might change next week, next month or if I’m lucky next year.
Staying close to yourself and noticing how you feel with anything you do is important. Try to do as much things that give you energy, that calm you down, the things that are your personal bike. Spending enough time with this bike will make all the other things less hard, it will give you the energy to succeed in anything and win from the devil inside your brain every day.