By James O'Conner
Journalism student James O’Connor sat down with Mr. Tom Brown, a science teacher at Wethersfield High School, and passionate bike rider to give us some insight on what it is about the activity that so many find interesting based on his experiences.
The most rewarding aspect of the sport, according to Mr. Brown, is the meditative effects that are foregrounded when one takes the opportunity to expose themselves to the elements. Unlike the confines of a car, being on a bike stimulates all of your senses. You attain a much better view of your surroundings, besides just seeing them, and you are able to hear the sounds of the trail or town you are riding through. You can feel the air as you cruise through it, and you may even notice some pleasant smells in the air, especially in the coming season of barbecues.
The more personal exposure to nature can help to clear your mind of stress, and serve as a kind of reset button for your thoughts, Mr. Brown explained. He says that after riding he feels better emotionally, and usually ends up in a good mood. He also gets a better night’s sleep after a good ride. “[That] sensation of flying, as long as you’re in control, is a good feeling.”
Mr. Brown also noted how cyclists are usually friendly people. He recalled his tour of the UK, during which he rode from the top of Scotland to the bottom of England. All throughout his journey he would be cheered on and encouraged by other bikers who realised the significance of what he was doing. Even back in Wethersfield, he always shares a smile with passing-by bikers because they are aware of the fun that their sport brings them.
Mr. Brown believes that biking is a good introductory sport, being low-risk for injury and easy to maintain. Those who might not be comfortable with running as a primary exercise may find biking can provide the same physical benefits while also being more comfortable to adjust to. He has previously worked with students to help acclimate them to a point where they could ride comfortably and confidently.
Of people who are skeptical about taking up bike riding, Mr. Brown said he understands that the sport can seem intimidating. Some may be scared or discouraged by the hazards associated with the activity, or have had poor experiences in the past and are no longer open to the idea. But he is adamant that the beneficial qualities of bike riding far outweigh the bad.
Even for people with disabilities, Mr. Brown is assurant that they can experience the thrill of taking out a bike. He mentioned that he is looking to make plans with an organization that specializes in bicycle modifications for the disabled. “Even with severe impediments, you could get a bike that could work,” he said of the idea. He stands by the adage that a positive attitude helps instill you with the energy necessary to take on any such task.
The WHS Bicycle club meets on Tuesdays and Fridays in room 401. With Spring on its way, the club will be riding soon, so don’t hesitate to take the opportunity.