Lots of articles have been written about the psychological and physiological benefits of cycling and I can attest to many of those claims. But I think what people speak of, with not just cycling, but with various sports or activities, is that there’s a spiritual element to it.
While different people have different ways to experience that, I’ve learned over the years that often how I “recharge my soul” is through participating in activities that have the sensation of “gliding”, such as swimming, cycling, sailing, skiing, etc.
Several friends have commended me on how I’m able to ride so much, but the to me cycling is like a drug. A narcotic. A Candy Crush on two wheels. Once I get off the saddle, I begin thinking of when I can get on again. It’s addictive, and annoying my wife, but I’m sure other fellow cyclists can understand. It’s easy to get on when you come back refreshed and recharged.
People do mention and talk about that experience on the bike and of riding, but the concept of spirituality in recreation has been muted in this era of Christianity. Here’s one book that I’ve heard of several years ago that attempts to share how skiing can be such a refresher:
But it sounds like some Catholics have it down.
This Franciscan friar living at Huntingdon Beach shares a lot of experiencing God at the beach in this article.
And glad that Pope Benedict is quoted as seeing the recreational experience as a natural part of experiencing God.
“Skiing is practiced in a mountain environment, an environment which in a special way makes us feel small, giving back to us the right dimension of our being creatures,” he said. “It makes us capable of asking ourselves about the meaning of creation, of looking above, of opening ourselves to the Creator.”
Man, it’d be rad to go on a ski trip with the Pope. And shoot the breeze. If I was hanging with Pope Francis, I’d be “Yo, Pope Fran, did you take your Harley up to this resort? What say we go chill at the hot tub now then go feed the poor afterwards? Wanna play Candy Crush?”
So what recreations help you refresh your soul? Feel free to jot below.
I’ll end this post with this recent video about former KART and F1 race car driver Alex Zanardi, and how he started cycling. His quote regarding his winning of the 2012 Para-Olympic gold medal: “I won because I wanted to ride my bicycle.” Amen.