Author Topic: Your commuting state of mind..?  (Read 1103 times)

Your commuting state of mind..?
« on: March 26, 2015, 01:28:32 pm »
In general what's your assessment of your usual state of mind when commuting/ cycling in busy environments?  Relaxed, 'absorbed', autopilot, stressed etc., etc.?   Do you enjoy your commute?

Recently I've done more Oct-March commuting than I've done for a very long time.  I have to say that while I enjoy the being on the bike instead of the car aspect, I tend to be continually wondering about potential driver choices in a given moment, and also find myself 'rehearsing' potential confrontations if a driver was to do this or that - sometimes to the extent of imagining the 'conversations'... 

I'm not sure that my recent using of an 'action cam' on the commute really helps out with all this - though it has enabled me to write to two companies so far with 'evidence'.  I need to employ some 'keep chilled' strategies, and am also hoping that when local road closures end, the traffic levels will decrease a tad.


"an inordinate fondness for beetles"

Re: Your commuting state of mind..?
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2015, 01:47:29 pm »
The opposite to you, the INSTENT DETH part of my brain is on autopilot, the rest of my brain is considering which items to buy from the Lauren Bacall auction.

http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/22741/#/aa0=1&

Some nice Henry Moores, Chagall, little statue of Bogie.

Jacomus

  • My favourite gender neutral pronoun is comrade
Re: Your commuting state of mind..?
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2015, 02:13:09 pm »
I recognise that mindset, ao. A few years ago, I was in the same boat. Then I read Mind Driving and started to concentrate on being the best cyclist I could be.

Slowly, I realised how chilling out it was. I found that when my brain was focused on being the best, minor annoyances started becoming mini gold stars when I successfully planned for and/or responded to things happening around me. I realised that my safety comes above all else and I'm the one who has the biggest effect on it.

You'll never stop the adrenaline dump that comes from shitforbrains nearly KSIing you, but minimising the minor annoyances makes for a much more zen ride - all through a shift in mindset. I've also discovered that those near-KSI moments dissipate faster if your baseline stress level is lower.

I've also found a mirror adds massively to my comfort, I'm a lot more aware of my surroundings now. Previously I'd scoffed at mirror users as too lazy to look around themselves :-[

Another trick is to start riding deliberately slower than cruising pace for about 10 minutes to allow your brain to 'warm up' as your body does.

I thank other road users a lot - a smile and a wave. I don't really care whether they notice it or not, but it adds to my positive mindset. I thanks drivers in side roads who stop their vehicle correctly, for example. In my head I usually say 'thanks for not killing me, mate' as I smile and wave my thanks or smile and nod if I don't like the look of the road surface. Or 'thanks for not tailgating me as I passed that bus' and so on.

My commutes are now filled with 'yay moments' - something I've carried over from roller derby. A 'yay moment' is when you nail something as trivial as a perfect gear change or a big as predicting and responding to a complex traffic situation. The only requirement to mentally log it as a yay moment is that whatever it was, was absolutely perfect.
"The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity." Amelia Earhart

Re: Your commuting state of mind..?
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2015, 02:24:48 pm »
I focus absolutely on the task at hand, which is 'keeping me safe'.

No day-dreaming, no thinking through the day's work or domestic problems. No sight-seeing.

Eleven years in and I've only come off once.
Rust never sleeps

Re: Your commuting state of mind..?
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2015, 02:36:06 pm »
^
This.
I caught a bus / rail replacement service to London Bridge for breakfast with a friend last Saturday.
Part of the bus route is on my commute.
I was fascinated (really) by all the stuff that I pass every day without ever having noticed it - because I am focused on staying alive or, more to the point, focused on not having someone feed me soup for the rest of my life, without me actually knowing it is soup IYSWIM
Lengthening my commute in order that it uses quieter roads has contributed immensely to reducing stress levels from what they were when I was mixing it with the traffic. My commute now includes a fair chunk of riverside riding (Thanks Adamski :thumbsup:) which has proved to be something of a game-changer.
I don't rehearse confrontational conversations. I do spend time and effort doing my utmost to avoid them.
I also no longer ride flat-out. The work will still be there, regardless of what time I get there.

menthel

  • Jim is my real, actual name
Re: Your commuting state of mind..?
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2015, 02:43:03 pm »
Alertly zen. And sometimes singing to myself, usually out of tune.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Your commuting state of mind..?
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2015, 03:07:55 pm »
I can pass through large parts of south London on autopilot. I'm genuinely unsure who's in command, but I'm definitely not on the bridge for much of this time. That used to worry me (I do the same when driving, I once managed to drive 2/3rds of the way through NYC without noticing) but whomever is running things seems good and manages emergency stops etc. I never know whether to be impressed and freaked that there's someone in my brain who isn't me and, tbh, seems to be better at me than most things. What if he/she/it takes over? What happens to me in this putsch? You see, this is the kind of thing I'm thinking about when I'm cycling along.

I mostly don't think about bad driving. I used to get angry then I got zen. They'll be shit regardless of what I think. Once the fizzle of adrenalin has gone, I'm back to wondering about my mystery autopilot. What if it's a girl? Will I need a new wardrobe? Is she cute? I daydream about other stuff too. Believe me, there's not much to look at after your first dozen times along the A23.

I am getting a bit disillusioned in general with the roads mind. My foray yesterday down the Waterlink Way was, while impractical, thoroughly liberating (admittedly, crashing down an unlit, rutted train in the twilight might have liberated my head from my body). I think it's partly through various commitments, and a much longer commute, that I've ridden less, but also the A22/A23 is pretty unattractive and offputting (the former, tbh, is making me contemplate getting the train). I find the entire need to cycle aggressively, wide of the gutter, blocking passes etc, just tiring. Even on autopilot there's a steady bleed of stress. I used to enjoy the real world video game and mixing it up with London traffic, doing the Ben Hur around E&C, that kind of thing. Perhaps, I'm just getting older, but the entire combative nature of road cycling is just getting exhausting.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: Your commuting state of mind..?
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2015, 03:15:01 pm »
It's better in summer.

I've had probably the most consistent winter of commuting ever. I commute out of town into the country which is probably a little unusual but my route takes me through a rat-run along a narrow country lane where I'm constantly rehearsing my actions and what I would say given the chance which I usually don't have. I do get annoyed by idiotic selfish driving and regularly try to tell myself I can't do anything about it and most drivers aren't a problem but I don't find it easy.

In summer I enjoy the ride much more and relax. I've not ridden for the past two weeks and it has made a nice change. I won't now commute by bike until I return from holiday in Mid April so it will be different circumstances but I think I need to work on the zen thing a bit better.

Having said all that, the last two weeks of driving has taught me how sole destroying commuting by car every day for my entire career without considering any other options would be. I don't know how my colleagues do it!
Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped

TheLurker

  • Goes well with magnolia.
Re: Your commuting state of mind..?
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2015, 07:29:13 pm »
Pretty relaxed,  mostly fretting about work matters and my declining fitness.  However the vast majority of my ride is on out of town roads (a good 9 or 10 miles is on back roads) and my inbound trip is at double-oh sparrow fart so there's not much else to worry about even in Cirencester.   Back when I did the Swindon run via Highworth on the A361 well, that was altogether more... absorbing.
Τα πιο όμορφα ταξίδια γίνονται με τις δικές μας δυνάμεις - Φίλοι του Ποδήλατου

Pancho

  • لَا أَعْبُدُ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ
Re: Your commuting state of mind..?
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2015, 08:01:02 pm »
These days I surprise myself with my calm. I used to spend half the trip composing my obit and worrying that the inquest might get the verdict wrong. No kidding. The other half I spent in imaginary or actual fisticuffs or roof banging.

Now I just gaze at the view and get lost in my head.

My route is better these days. Country lanes and muddy tracks with sea views rather than dc A roads with junctions and traffic lights. But I like to think I've also grown up a bit.

Re: Your commuting state of mind..?
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2015, 11:18:41 pm »
I find myself calm and relaxed. Often the solutuion to problems that I have been puzzling over all day come to me on my way home as if by magic. It is not that I am actively thinking about the problems (maybe it is because I stop thinking about them) it is just that in mental terms cycling is so much easier than driving that there is plenty of spare capacity.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Your commuting state of mind..?
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2015, 12:05:49 am »
I find myself calm and relaxed. Often the solutuion to problems that I have been puzzling over all day come to me on my way home as if by magic. It is not that I am actively thinking about the problems (maybe it is because I stop thinking about them) it is just that in mental terms cycling is so much easier than driving that there is plenty of spare capacity.

To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Your commuting state of mind..?
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2015, 02:02:07 pm »
My commute is rural, so I spend most of the time riding between hedges and thinking "how far is it to the top of this hill?"

I have to be alert to what my ears are telling me as the primary hazard is going to be a piss poor overtake in the face of oncoming traffic. Otherwise it's zen and I am coming to appreciate it more and more.

velosam

  • '.....you used to be an apple on a stick.'
Re: Your commuting state of mind..?
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2015, 11:59:46 am »
On the way into work I just think about getting to work safely.  The way home isnt very zen like, its just so busy and a lot of people crossing roads without thinking.

Tbh I prefer cycling to taking the scooter.  Trying to lane split even at 20 mph is now very stressful for me, must be an age thing.

OTOH I cant stand the underground either.