Touring with a Bicycle
by Dr. Yan Lyansky
My first cycling tour changed almost every aspect of my life, reshaping my outlook on my fitness, my health and my overall well being.
1. Health and Fitness:
During my cross country tour, I lost over 20lbs and completely transformed my body. I began to build strong stamina and found that at the conclusion of the tour, I was an incredibly strong cyclist. Shortly after this, I began mountain bike racing and continued to benefit from the fitness that cycling provided me for the following 20+ years.
2. Mental Health:
Before I completed my first cycling tour, I limited myself, believing I did not have the fitness, skill or determination to complete the tour, let alone pursue my other cycling and fitness goals. However, during the tour, I taught myself to push my boundaries and defy my own expectations, allowing me to develop an unshakable faith in my own ability. I can run a marathon, get a Ph.D., or win a mountain bike race, as long as I continue to believe in myself.
Before I embarked on my first cycling tour, I was a thoroughly unhappy person. However, after pushing myself through the trials and tribulations of a cycling tour, I began to develop a deeper appreciation and thankfulness for the life that I was living, for the opportunities that were available to me and for the relationships that I had. This appreciation saw every aspect of my life improve, including my relationships with myself and with my loved ones.
Not only is cycling an excellent form of fitness, it has also provided me with the opportunity to travel the world. Completing a cross country tour saw me experiencing unique cultures I had never seen before, allowing me to indulge in various local delicacies and celebrate different cultural traditions vastly different from my own. Furthermore, travelling to new places allowed me to learn more about the counties history and geography, areas I had little knowledge of prior to my trip. These things alone were enough to change my entire outlook of life and I now have a better understanding and respect for cultures that are different to my own.
Not only was I able to broaden my cultural horizons, I also established life-long connections and relationships along the way. By touring with a group of like-minded individuals, I was able to form meaningful, lasting bonds that have remained an integral part of my well being to this day.