What is cycling? Is it exercise? Is it recreation? Is it a hobby?
It’s all those things, and none of those things—and more. When I was young, I never slowed down enough ask myself that question. I had no need. More recently, I began asking myself that question because I began to wonder why I’d never emptied my well of inspiration for writing about this sport/pastime/hobby.
What I’ve come to realize is that cycling is for many of us, an indispensable piece of our lives. Sure, it’s exercise, and science is increasingly telling us to use it or lose it. Riding isn’t just good for the muscles and aerobic system, it’s also good for keeping our brains sharp and the workings of our inner ear nimble.
For most of us, whether we are aware or not, cycling is a key pressure valve, a way not just to blow off steam, but to re-center and regulate. Who hasn’t gotten home from a ride feeling both calmer and refreshed, even if we are dog-tired? (But srsly, do dogs ever get as tired as we do following a long day in the saddle?)
What bike magazines and web sites have generally struggled to articulate is how cycling is also a means of self-expression, part of Maslow’s self-actualization, giving us a chance to explore who we are and how we find meaning in the world. There are those special rides where we enter a flow state and our brains are bathed in a cocktail of feel-good hormones that not only brighten our mood, but can restore our sense of wonder in the world, not to mention building our connection with others.
The Cycling Independent was founded to celebrate the many ways cycling fulfills us and to do it without dividing the sport into tiny niches. Anyone who has ridden a bike has felt those things. It’s as inevitable as the rising sun. And because that experience is universal to cyclists, our goal is to speak to all cyclists, to welcome into the sport everyone who has felt that.
We also wanted to simplify the relationship between the publisher (us) and the audience (you). You won’t find crazy popup ads. We won’t include affiliate links so that we can make money off of what you buy, and we definitely won’t let anyone strong-arm our content by paying us to post something or prevent us from saying something by threatening to withhold ad dollars. In other words, what you see is what you get. And if you like what you get, we hope you’ll support us.
Yours in cycling,