how-my-mental-health-improved-when-i-started-cycling-everywhere

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I moved to New York from Minnesota not too long ago to pursue my dream of working with the US’s best marketers. If you have never been to my town, you will realize why I wanted to get away from it badly. There was no 7-Eleven store; the only shop you would find was Nelly’s, our family business.

In all fairness, my parents never took it negatively whenever I talked about my dreams of moving to the Big Apple. They used to say, “We will not be a hindrance to your dreams. If that’s what you want to do, we will support you in any way possible.” Therefore, a day after my graduation, my father drove my car for hours to New York and only rode a plane on the way back.

how-my-mental-health-improved-when-i-started-cycling-everywhere

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Moving To New York

I did not have a tough time finding a great job in the Big Apple. After a month of sending applications, I became a junior marketer at a well-known agency. The condo I found was technically 20 minutes away from the office, so I thought it was cool. But when my commute started, I realized that cars wouldn’t work there – I needed a bicycle if I wanted to get anywhere on time.

Here’s how my mental health improved once I cycled everywhere.

how-my-mental-health-improved-when-i-started-cycling-everywhere

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I Stopped Worrying About Being Late For Work

I used to get up at 5:45 A.M. and leave the house precisely an hour later in hopes of beating the morning rush. However, when you live in the heart of New York, there was hardly any time when cars were not in a traffic jam. Because of that, when I moved there for the first time for work, my heart always beats fast, and I was worried sick about being late and eventually getting a memo. That’s what happened to the person I replaced, as I had been told.

Then, one time I became late because of a roadside accident, I had a panic attack at work. My team leader found me in the pantry, hugging my knees. It was technically my first offense, but I still feared losing my job. The team leader took pity on me and pulled me outside for some fresh air. That’s when she divulged that the key to avoiding lateness was riding a bike to work. She even pointed me to the store where she bought hers.

Desperate, I bought a bicycle immediately after my shift. I found a bike route from my condo to the workplace. The next day, I tried this new mode of transportation. I left my unit around the same and reached the office with 15 minutes to spare. Hence, I was no longer worried about going to work late.

how-my-mental-health-improved-when-i-started-cycling-everywhere

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I Became Rarely Angered By Thoughtless Drivers

No matter how long the distance was, I often felt frustrated because of the thoughtless drivers in New York. Some were too much in a hurry to signal turning or overtaking; others would honk so frequently even when they could see that the red light was on. In the last couple of months, I almost got into a fight with other motorists due to such incidents.

When I learned how to pedal everywhere, though, my car stayed in the garage most of the time. I merely used the bike lane, and there was no traffic at all. Although the vehicles remained at a standstill for an hour or two, the traffic could not bother me anymore. Wherever I went, I would arrive smiling.

The people who used to see me scowling every time I hopped out of my car found the change refreshing. They asked about my “secret,” and I pointed towards my bicycle. Some of them followed my lead and started cycling, too.

how-my-mental-health-improved-when-i-started-cycling-everywhere

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I Learned That Patience Was An Excellent Virtue To Have

Admitting this might put me in a bad light, but I had always been impatient. I had been like that ever since I was a kid – I wanted to do everything in fast forward. That’s the reason why I begged my parents to get me a car on my 16th birthday and hardly walked anywhere. However, it turned out to be a bane when I arrived in New York. The bigger your vehicle was in the Big Apple, the slower you could reach your destination.

Things changed once I used a bicycle as my preferred mode of transportation. Even though there were bike lanes, it was still inadvisable to pedal as fast as I could in the metropolitan since I had to be mindful of overtaking cars around me. It meant that I could only go up to 15 or 20 kmh, so my travel time became longer.

Instead of feeling frustrated, I learned to enjoy the ride. It was the fastest way to go anywhere around the city, after all. If I got upset with cycling, I might have to walk or, worse, drive my car again. Hence, I altered my mindset and appreciated the fact that I would not have known how to be patient if I didn’t buy a bicycle. Doing so allowed me to avoid exploding at work if a colleague forgot to do their tasks, among other things.

 

If you live in a busy city and are always commuting light, consider riding a bicycle. It will be good for your physical and mental health, I swear.

 

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