It’s election season, which means enjoying the civil discourse crucial to maintaining democracy.
‘Tis the season for being bombarded by election-related status updates, angry political ads invading our favorite shows, and music stations playing their hit song “I Approve This Message.”
But, fear not! Science says riding a bicycle can reduce stress and improve one’s mood, even in the midst of a presidential campaign. Here are simple ways battle election year blues with biking:
Less spin, more spinning
Substitute the off-putting barrage of political spin with spinning smooth circles while your focus on the quiet hum of your bike (or its constant creaking) until all other sounds fall away. Some call this mindfulness. We just call it another reason to ride.
It’s time to part with that bike that’s been sitting in the back of your garage or volunteer your time at a local bicycle co-op. Help yourself by helping others.
Be a uniter, not a divider
Grab a group of friends and head out for a ride where everyone is welcome to “run what they brung.” Let it be known that cruisers, road bikes, mountain bikes, unicycles, and recumbents are all welcome to be part of the Wheeled Party.
Take a new route. Believe for a moment that seeing an argument from the other side is as easy as taking a left where you’d normally take a right.
The children are our future
But more importantly, they know when it’s time to have fun. So grab a kid (preferably your own) and escape into their world. Race a toddler on a Strider bike and lose. Teach a grom how to lube their chain or fix a flat tire, then let them teach you their favorite bike trick.
Weave together a route that’s bigger than you’ve ever done before. Ride silly fat tires in the snow. Or spend a day at the trails listening to the sweet sound of positive, politics-free spinning of tires on earth.
Kristin Butcher has been a rider and bicycling advocate for more than 20 years. After riding in nearly every state, she’s seen the power of bicycling communities across the country firsthand and eaten at more convenience stores than the FDA would recommend. Her stories have appeared in Bicycling, Mountain Bike, USA Today, and BIKE Magazine where her column “Butcher Paper” appears monthly.
Check out more ways Bikes Can Solve That.