“I’ve continued cycling, and it’s grown into a habit. And like most things we do habitually, we become good at them.”Osoch Ogun
I down a mug of coffee, slide into a tracksuit, and throw a hoodie over my head. At the doorway, I slip into my cycling shoes. It’s mildly dark outside, but I can perceive the pathway to the gate. I grab my bicycle and disappear out of the compound, unnoticed.
I pull clean air into my lungs, full and heavy, and press on the pedals, my pace steadily increasing as I bend through corners and avoid water-filled potholes. Stray dogs scurry out of my path.
It’s misty, like most mornings, but today, I feel something different. Months ago, I couldn’t cycle for a kilometer without stopping to catch my breath. But today, I feel as if I have a new set of lungs—a Tour de France winner’s lungs. I could ride forever.
I don’t cycle to accomplish a massive goal. I don’t do it because I have lofty dreams of winning medals or setting records. My body isn’t built for that. I only began cycling seriously because most of the people I admire ride bicycles, and have participated in triathlons. So, I saved up and bought myself a three-speed mountain bike.
I enjoy challenging myself and leaving my comfort zone. Thus, one year ago, I incorporated cycling into my schedule. Until then, I didn’t have any connection to the sport. I just did it because it made me sweat.
Little did I know there’s more to cycling than just pushing your legs down onto pedals, with a chain and treaded tires covering distance underneath. I’ve continued cycling, and it’s grown into a habit. And like most things we do habitually, we become good at them.
I’ve slogged along, slowly but confidently, until last week something magical happened: I covered a kilometer in about four minutes!
Afterward, I stopped, took a breather, and looked around. The early morning was beautiful, and the colloquial saying, “The early bird catches the worm,” made sense: the silence, the mist, the solitude, and the golden rays in the east. I touched my bike and felt lucky to be alive.
I approached my second kilometer at a steady pace. Suddenly, I felt my body let go—something that’s difficult to capture with words.
It was as if I was one with nature, the bike was an extension of me, and we were both floating through time. My eyes remained fixated on the murram flowing away beneath me, and I kept going.
After a while, I stopped to check my fitness app and discovered I’d covered five kilometers. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I didn’t feel tired, and my legs were as fresh as daisies.
I stood there, pulling the cold air into my nostrils, feeling free, joyous, and happy. The world could’ve ended at that point, and I would’ve been okay. Every cell, every part of me, was alive. I felt as if I could win any cycling competition.
As I slowly rode back home, I realized what just happened. I’d reached nirvana. I’d scaled the top summits of human possibility, and experienced an altered state of consciousness.
The five kilometers I had covered were a blur and felt like a meditation or a prayer of sorts. I’d completely lost track of time and body fatigue. I could have kept riding, forever, into the horizon, exploring unknown vistas. It was similar to the feeling I get when I’m doing something that completely engulfs me and drowns me in adrenaline.
For a few electric minutes, in that cold morning, my consciousness was elevated. It’s a state of mind that I can only achieve when I meditate. But now, with cycling, it’s another way to access my subconscious.
I think of the people who invented the bicycle, and I thank them for breaking new ground. They were true pioneers of human possibility. With rudimentary beginnings, they launched a sport that would develop into an unassailable part of humanity.