Riding and Writing

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Albert Einsten

I'm at the Anderson Center in Red Wing this weekend with two of my writing friends, Joy and Chris. We're here having a writing weekend and are working on our various writing projects. The Anderson Center is an awesome place. We're staying in a huge house surrounded by lots of green space and a sculpture garden. It's quiet here and it's a perfect place to write, read and rejuvenate.

It's also a perfect place for bicycling as the Anderson Center is right by the Cannon Valley Trail. So in addition to packing some books, my journal, fountain pens, computer and works in progress, I packed Zippy, my Salsa Vaya, so I could ride this weekend - partially because I like to ride the trail, partially because I'm in the middle of another 30 Days of Biking challenge and partially because I find that riding helps me write.

Earlier today I rode about 12 miles. Most of the ride was on the Cannon Valley Trail but the access roads from the Anderson Center to the trail was partially on gravel so I got some gravel in, too. I also deviated from the trail and enjoyed exploring a new-to-me pathway to a park. Both the access road and the park path had some pretty steep hills so I got some hill work in. This is my longest ride in months. Overall, I feel pretty good but it's pretty clear I have some work to do before I can manage the RiotGrrravel ride in June let alone the 60 mile Minnesota Ironaman ride I signed up for at the end of April or the 50 mile Bike MS Ride I'm doing in May.

My Vaya, Zippy, along the Cannon Valley Trail.
The sign marks the head of a walking path
leading up to the Anderson Center's grounds.
While my biking time this weekend is helping me get in shape, I did find myself wondering if it would be wiser for me to spend less time on my bike and more time actually writing during my writing weekend. I mean, I'm here to write, right? And Joy and Chris are writing so much that they both told me they finished their books while I was out on my ride. Okay so they were teasing me but I know they both made progress on their projects whereas I have hardly touched my book or essay projects this weekend.

But here's the deal. My riding time is very much helpful to my writing time. While I ride I create blog posts in my head. I craft sentences. I come up with ideas. I get inspired by the things I see. Pedaling jogs my memory and I recall things that will fit into the stories I'm working on. Sure, it's frustrating that I can't jot down my perfectly crafted sentences and stories while I'm riding my bike. Some of my in my head writing does get lost because I forget what I was going to write by the time I get back to my desk. Or maybe it doesn't really get lost and it's still in my head somewhere? Actually, it doesn't really matter because I have found that my riding time helps motivate and inspire me to write when I DO get back to my desk.

I have found that the time I spend writing and editing in my head helps me write and edit when I put pen to paper. I have found that I crave the physical exercise and that moving makes me feel happy - and that when I'm feeling happy I can focus and keep working even on difficult writing projects. I have found that I need to move - bicycle, walk, garden, be physical in some way - in order to stay balanced in life. I have also discovered that I need to be feeling balanced in life in order to keep on writing.

So it's all good. I'll not worry about losing out on writing time because I'm riding my bike. All of that time on the bike is time well spent - both for my physical self and for my writing self. Biking helps me stay balanced so I will keep on pedaling and keep on writing, too.

Feeling rather balanced and happy along the Cannon Valley Trail


Rob Hardy said…
I feel exactly the same way about walking!

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