When I started road cycling it wasn't to 'change my life'. I didn't buy a bike to 'find a greater meaning to my daily existence'. But, the accidental truth is, that's exactly what happened. I'm now a firm believer that being a cyclist has made me a better human being. And surely, whether it's for self development or general happiness, that's what we all want.
CYCLISTS = GOOD PEOPLE
Whilst cycling, you quickly learn not to overreact. Every small movement can cause huge repercussions for the peloton you're riding with. In life, seeking first to understand (and therefore not overreacting) leads you to being a more understanding person.
Riding takes you to new surroundings. I can now talk about places in the world I didn't know existed and suggest good places to visit. And, everyone needs a helpful friend who gives good recommendations.
You constantly hear personal stories in the saddle, making you a more humbled person.
You ride away your demons and bad moods rather than inflicting them on the loved ones around you.
When tough emotions or unwanted situations arise in life, it's human nature to run away from them. When on the bike, you learn to ride through it. Even when you feel truly awful, you carry on and strengthen your ability as a person to fight not flight.
You spend most of your time drinking coffee and therefore less time making a nuisance of yourself.
You learn discipline. Cycling is addictive - you return weekly to the pain cave to better yourself and master your skill. A feat not often stuck to in other areas of life.
On most rides, you nod or smile to fellow riders. A warm-hearted interaction with strangers? Often even making eye contact in normal life is avoided where possible.
In a world full of criticism, cycling teaches you to give kudos.
Cycling is the ultimate leveller. By riding more, you realise the people around you are similar in so many ways. We all need support and to give support at different times. On and off the bike.
As they say, you're only one ride away from a good mood. So the more people that ride, the more positive moods there will be. So, with any luck (apart from those very dark moments when trying to replace a third puncture in a row) that means a world with better people. And better quads.