I cycle for two main reasons — biking is, first of all, the best form of cross-training and post-race recovery for runners, and also helps strengthen muscles (such as the quads) that would not be worked out through running alone (thereby preventing injury). But the more significant reason is the core nature of cycling, and endurance sports in and of themselves: it is very Aspie friendly! You can do it alone. There are no judges (only the clock). Not much eye-hand coordination needed. And athletic pursuits such as swimming, biking and running involve repetitive actions that I can do for long periods of time, which helps take out the stress and put me in the “zone.” Plus I am outdoors and enjoying nature. I also relish the numerical component of such pursuits: seeing how many miles I can churn out, whether on the bike or on foot, how fast, at what average pace. And with biking, unlike running, I can cover a significantly greater distance at a much faster pace, logging in a lot more miles, and come away far less sore or tired than on foot. Of course running burns more calories than biking, but biking takes far less a toll on the body. And last but not least — I can daydream when I’m running, biking or swimming, and just kind of allow myself to be in that soothing zen state that comes with repetitive movement.
I have already had the special privilege of engaging in four athletic events on behalf of AANE’S fundraising efforts during the past 2 years: running the 2016 and 2017 Boston Marathons to raise money for AANE, in addition to the 2016 and 2017 Rodman Ride for Kids–both of which I rode the full century (100 mile) option. I am once again planning on tackling the 100 mile ride this year on September 22nd, as part of AANE’s cycling team. And while it has given me an enormous sense of pleasure and pride to run Boston twice for AANE as an officially qualified runner, I feel an even greater sense of satisfaction riding the Rodman as part of a cohort of AANE riders, and raising far more funds than I could do solo. Cycling 100 miles certainly requires a bigger time commitment than running 26.2, yet I come away at the end of the day nowhere near as physically taxed or sore, and far more energized. And since it is a charity ride and not a competition, I can take my time and enjoy the scenery while partaking in the companionship of fellow riders. I appreciate the opportunities I have had to help out less experienced riders on the road; two years ago I changed a fellow AANE cyclist’s rear tire on Ride day. I figure that, given all the difference AANE personally has made in my life (receiving a diagnosis, participating in the governance of the organization, getting my art into shows and exhibits), I need to give back anyway, anyhow, and employ my unique talents for AANE’s benefit.