May 17, 2018
May 17, 2018
Five Reasons Why To Say Yes To A Long Distance Bicycle Tour
Did anyone ever suggest that you should take a month or two, or even longer, to go on a bike ride and you immediately turned it down? Over the last decade and half, I have invited friends, neighbours, my doctors and family members to come on one of our long cycling tours. With a couple of exceptions from my family, they all turned down the offer.
During an interview a couple of years ago on Jimmy Kimmel, Shonda Rhimes, the creator and producer of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, and the author of a book called – ‘A Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and be Your Own Person‘ – explained “The problem with doing new things is that we automatically focus on the awkwardness and difficulty.” In the book Rhimes writes about what happened to her when she decided for a year to say yes to any unexpected offer. It helped her get over her anxiety around public speaking and find a better sense of balance in her life.
With her experience in mind, here are 5 reasons to say “yes” to signing up for a long distance cycling adventure.
If you are not a cyclist, then making a statement that a long distance cycling trip will make you happier might sound a little crazy. After all, sitting on a bike seat, making strenuous efforts to move ahead and having to pay attention to the world around you so that you do not get hurt and then claiming that this is going to make you happier is somewhat counterintuitive. Keith Rollag, the author of “What to Do When You’re New: How to Be Comfortable, Confident, and Successful in New Situations” says, however, that it has all to do with a chemical in our brains called dopamine. Whenever we do something new, our brain releases dopamine which, among other things, makes us feel happy and alive.
Better Your Career
My younger sister was working as a young economist at the Ministry of Finance in Ottawa but was unhappy and, after much soul searching, decided to take a year off and go traveling. Her friends all told her that her promising career would be over if she went. After she returned from her travels, she decided to apply for a posting at the IMF in Washington D.C. To her (and her friends’) surprise, she was picked by the Canadian Executive Director for the job. Why? Because he wanted someone who took risks, who was not afraid to go against the current, someone with a worldlier outlook. This was the case in the 1980’s and it is much more so now.
Boost Your Brain Power
There is ample research pointing out that exercise boosts your mental performance. I have written about this in the past in blogs like – Proof Long Distance Cycling Makes You Smarter. Dr. Norman Doidge, an old friend and the author of the bestselling book ‘The Brain that Changes Itself’ wrote an article in The Guardian – ‘Five Ways to Improve Your Brainpower’. In it, he states that “the brain, in anticipation of the fact that the animal is going to have to learn a lot about this new territory, releases growth factors, which act like growth-promoting fertilizer in the brain, allowing it to build connections between cells more easily as it learns.” When you go on a long distance cycling tour you will most certainly be releasing ‘growth-promoting fertilizer in the brain’.
Slow Your Aging Process
I have written about this theory in the blog – 11 Reasons to Plan a Long Distance Tour and in our video “Time Machine: How to Add 9 Years to Your Life” If that doesn’t convince you the author Keith Rollag says “Neuroscientists have found that they can promote neuron and synapse growth in the middle-aged and elderly by breaking up normal routines and putting people into new, challenging, interesting situations that force them to think and act in different ways”.
This is another counterintuitive situation. How does going cycling for months on end help others? Bernardo Carducci is a professor of psychology and the director of the Shyness Research Institute at Indiana University Southeast. In an article in Fast Magazine – “Six Reasons to Say ‘Yes’ When You Want to say ‘No’”, he states that “There is a natural tendency for people to be hesitant when asked to do something outside of their comfort zones. If your primary response becomes no, you will never discover and test your true limits.” More to the point, by exposing yourself to new situations and challenges, you inspire others to do the same. You help them to get out and do things they might not have usually done.