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Is Cycling Better Suited to Introverts?

By Laurel-Lea Shannon

cycling-soloWith books like Susan Cain’s Quiet hitting the New York Times bestseller list, it seems easier now for introverts to come right out and admit their more introspective, quiet ways. According to Cain, “. . . introverts prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; they are innovative and creative but dislike self-promotion; they favour working on their own over brainstorming in teams.” And it seems that there are more of us around than previously thought. That started me thinking about cycling, and whether it’s a sport better suited to introverts.

Cycling can be a team sport. But can also be a solo sport. And for that reason I suspect it attracts many introverts. It’s a sport particularly well-suited to women who enjoy vigorous exercise, and their own company. While I cycle once or twice a week with friends or with a bicycle club, I do most of of my cycling solo—more than 60 percent of the time. I see other solo riders, but most of them are men. Rarely do I come across other female solo cyclists in my area.

Which brought up the question: Do women ride in groups because of concerns over safety, or because they prefer the social aspects of cycling? Safety is always more of an issue for women than men but to some extent I think the decision to ride solo depends on your temperament and your cycling goals. It’s challenging to find a cycling buddy with similar goals and approximately the same level of fitness.

During my solo rides I do intervals or tempo workouts. Riding alone helps me to stay focused on the ride, the workout and my technique, without distractions. Those rides give me a good indication of my fitness and whether it’s progressing the way I want it to. My social rides are for fun. That’s when I keep an easier pace, my only goal to enjoy the company and the day.

At the height of the cycling season, I do my solo rides early in the morning, to beat the heat. I enjoy the quiet start to the day, listening to the birds as I pedal down empty roads before noisy cars and trucks reclaim them. I feel happy at those times. It’s just me, my bike and my own thoughts for company. And for an introvert, it doesn’t get much better than that.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about solo cycling. Please take a moment to answer our instant survey question, “How much do you cycle alone?” Or, if you’d like to tell us more, please leave a comment.

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8 comments to Is Cycling Better Suited to Introverts?

  • Nita

    I love riding alone too. Gives me time to myself and to distress from my job as an ER nurse. I to wish I could find a cycling buddy with the same goals and fitness level. I have only been riding for 3 months now and have over 500 miles on my bike. I am totally addicted to it!!!!!!

  • lena G

    I consider myself an introvert person I always ride solo because it make feel focus while I am riding however at least twice per month I join a bicycle team. I have also learn how to change tires and all aspects of a possible problem that I may encounter during my ride and I like to be on the road early morning to bit up the heat before gets to hot.

  • susen-marie

    solo. moving meditation. time to focus on training. early morning is magical. i agree with all of you. we would be perfect on a group ride….everyone working hard loving the peace and quiet and benefitting from the challenge to stay together!!!

  • Tara

    I ride alone about 95% of the time. I love to ride alone so that I can push myself and enjoy the ride. I ride with my husband and sometimes his buddies which is a lot of fun too. I would like to find some ladies to ride with but as you have mentioned its hard to find them with the same riding goals.

  • Julia

    I also always ride alone. Early morning rides in the country are the best. Sometimes I hear groups of women riding, talking loudly, and I cringe. Cycling is physical and spiritual for me. I socialize over a meal not my bike.

  • Mary

    I try to ride in groups or at least a pair for safety reasons – I prefer to ride alone or with just one person but don’t trust traffic.

  • Deborah

    I always ride alone. Like you, I like to ride very early in the morning and it becomes as much a spiritual as a physical exercise. I’ve tried riding with others once or twice but most of my friends ride at a much more leisurely pace than I do and treat it as a social occasion which doesn’t work for me.

  • Megan

    I LOVE my solo morning rides. Even the cold and dark morning commute in the winter. And then feeling the Spring come on with the birds, sunrise, flowering trees!! Can’t get that sitting in a car. Like the author, I do the social rides as well, but I really do love to go out on my own and do some hard climbs or circuit training .. or just put the miles in. Makes me smile. I know many women who won’t ride by themselves because they don’t have the confidence to take care of any mechanicals that might occur. I always urge them to practice in their garage and then go for it.

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