A tryst between cycling and the corporate professional
It was late 2016, when I was fuelled by the idea of restarting cycling as an integral part of my daily routine. Since childhood, cycling was one of the activities that shaped the inner rebel and explorer in me and many of many friends. We used to travel far away from our designated borders and find new routes without the knowledge of our parents. After crossing the bridge of adolescence into adulthood, I now believe that cycling is synonymous with one's childhood. It is liberating, it is pure and it sets the soul out to wander freely in unexplored domains. With the onset of my teenage years, cycling died a slow death along with my childhood. It was only last year, in earnest that I reignited the love affair that I once knew. The romance with the bicycle was rekindled in the twilight of my 20's where as an entrepreneur, I was trying to establish to my start-up.Fast forward to present day, I have now covered over 1000 kilometers on my bicycle and totaled to a tune of 72 wonderful hours on the saddle.
Here are the top 8 things I learnt through cycling which benefited my professional life and made a holistic impact on the way I do things now.
Fitness is important for any professional. The cliche 'health is wealth' holds true at given point in life. Starved for time, hitting the gym or picking up a sport seemed like a distant wish. But a one-hour cycling bout slowly turned from a joy ride to a serious work out.
I started waking up early and hence by default, my 'work day' started early as well. Empty roads are essential to gain maximum results from cycling. There was no other option other than to wake up by at least 5 am. This meant that I was charged up for the morning and the energy sustained till the end of my day yielding much more productivity than before.
The mind is an incubator of ideas. It just needs the right catalyst to convert all that potential into ripples of eureka moments. Cycling helped me to come up with ideas and solutions that I previously thought was beyond my capability.
Cycling reignited my passion for travel and adventure. Weekend rides became a norm as I pushed myself to longer and challenging rides exploring the length and breadth of Mumbai. There are places that I have been to in the past year that I never knew of and would have never have dared to gone had it not been for cycling.
Planning and Strategy. Long rides require intense planning. The route, the weather, intervals etc have to been pre-planned to ensure that I do not break down physically or mentally in the middle of a ride. There is always a chance of an external factor pouring cold water to all your plans by the way. This important lesson is what I have imbibed to my professional sphere as well and I consider this to be the most valuable lesson learnt.
I joined a cycling club and met with a lot of fellow cyclists. They were professionals, students, veterans who came from all walks of life. Networking is an important facet in the corporate world. Cycling gave me this platform seamlessly as I could interact and meet with new people. The most amazing part of networking is sharing and learning about experiences. Cycling is much more healthier than the conventional 'cigarette break', let me assure you!
Cycling brought me close to nature. The mountain trails and few patches of greenery left in Mumbai is a thing of beauty. Having lived in a concrete jungle all my life, cycling has made realize that is our prerogative to protect and preserve Mother Nature. I felt a sense of humility and tranquility along with a renewed sense of responsibility.
Cycling has helped me to lose those extra pounds which automatically boosts your self confidence and morale. The adrenaline rush literally fuels me every day to challenge myself and aim for the sky. In the future I do hope that all major cities in India have dedicated bicycle lanes and other infrastructure. I also hope that all offices have changing rooms enabling employees to cycle to work. This will result in a massive reduction of carbon footprint keeping our environment green.
I urge you all to give cycling a chance. Trust me, you will find a sense of liberation and unadulterated joy.
"Cycling makes you lean while keeping the environment green"