By Laurel-Lea Shannon
With 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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