Pedaling Me Softly With My Bike

I first started doing this when I rode my fixie through some South Philly ghettos, and I noticed that I had knee pain.

I took this as a sign that I needed to settle down a bit. I had been trying to fly by these “bad areas”. On the other hand, I enjoyed my commute a great deal. In many ways things were way more entertaining.

When you are in a gritty urban environment, there’s a great deal of texture and differences to attract the eye. In these more pristine California highways that I ride on, there’s far less detail, though I do enjoy the stunning natural beauty every single day.

In both places, my concept of soft riding has its merits.

As I hinted above, a sore knee was the problem, but the solution has grown to be more of a hobby than just a band-aid.

Basically, this is as simple as riding as softly as I can. I go to a low gear even on flat pavement, and I try to ride with a gentle gliding motion. In a few days, this had fixed my knee trouble. Now when I get knee problems again, I will realize that this isn’t really a problem, but rather a signal that I need to take it easy.

When I ride softly, I don’t spin 90 rpms or whatever, I ride slower. I just press softer as well. I try to see how soft I can press on the pedals and to keep riding. This doesn’t even necessarily make me ride as slow as possible, though I do find that I have to keep redirecting my legs to slow down especially on a fast moving road.

I find that the auto traffic next to me has a profound and subconscious impact on my riding style even when I am separated from it, and even when I am not paying any conscious attention to it.

This has made me think of the other things that impact our lives in ways that we aren’t totally aware. I will never be completely aware of everything that influences me, but to ride softly has slightly increased this awareness. In the end, this makes my commute even more enjoyable than it usually is.


2 Responses to “Pedaling Me Softly With My Bike”

  1. Aaron Garland Says:

    I am listening to the Fugees while reading this post. This is one of my favorite songs my Dad had the Roberta Flack version on vinyl.

  2. Sam Says:

    I love the Roberta Flack version. But I also love the Fugees version too.

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