Bike Ride

You can’t be depressed riding a bike.

Thanks goodness it’s a downhill ride to my work and most drivers are patient as I peddle through the intersections at a tortoise pace.

No matter what, I feel rejuvenated and ready to face the day after my morning bike ride.

Daughter Wee-hey inspired me with her daily commute, riding my mother’s first-and-only bike: a 3-gear gem from Sears.

I figured I have no excuses with my 24-speed mountain bike, a gift from second husband. He took a pair of my jeans to the store to buy the right size and came home with 2 mountain bikes for weekend sojourns to the Georgia mountains.

He kept the house and my humor. I kept my bike.

Bike riding is therapeutic, like listening to band music. Can you be depressed with John Philip Sousa in your ear?

By acting happy—grinning or chuckling or being engaged—you can actually fool your emotional self. By assuming the posture of being happy something internal clicks.

Sounds counter-intuitive and slightly phony, but your emotional self is tied to your physical self, and it works in both directions.

When you’re sad your shoulders sag and your pace slows. But research shows that you can actually lift your spirits when your physical self “acts happy.” That’s why laughing puts you in a better mood: the physical results tickle the spirit.

For me the bike ride frees my spirit.


About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
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