In the shower

Thinking about you think about is one of those exercises that inevitably leads you around in circles. Have you ever considered which shoe you put on first? Left or right? As soon as you try to be conscious of it the whole thing becomes forced.
In the last few weeks I have been asking fellow cyclists just what they think about on their journeys, and here is what you said.


    • My commute is only 2-4 miles (depending on where I’m headed), and I spend the time being incredibly watchful of other traffic. I’ll zone out a bit on the waterfront and enjoy the view, but I’m too nervous of a driver or cyclist to let my mind wander too much. Sometimes I will rehearse the speaking bits of a presentation, but that’s about it.My roommate has a longer commute (4+ miles), and more confidence and listens to music or podcasts.I don’t think the research indicates that hands-free phone sets increase safety all that much. The brain gets very distracted when it is expected to come up with an answer: listening to talk radio or a one-sided conversation isn’t that bad, but actually engaging in a phone conversation seems risky. Sorry to preach.

    • I used to listen to music with earbuds but figure that I need to hear things. (Also the political climate where I am right now is such that cyclists are the flavour/enemy of the week so we have to be squeaky clean until it blows over and they move on to some other group.)

    • I sometimes sing. Not loudly. Sometimes opera, other times Eurythmics.

    • This time of year the streets are full of flowering trees and bushes so I try to soak that up, even sometimes stopping to smell lilacs.
    • I don’t want to get run over in traffic so no headphones. Even then I’ve had a few close calls, last year I almost go run over by a guy in an SUV. I carry a cell phone in case of an emergency but my rides are for me I love cycling.
    • I usually just think about math stuff, calculating how fast, far, long, etc it could take me to go from point A to B. But that’s probably because I am competive and wanted to keep on improving.
      And when I ride, I ride my bicycle. šŸ˜‰
    • I’m looking at my HR/watts/speed…or trying not to barf up my lungs.
      Even when I’m on a non-training ride, my mind is quiet. That’s what I love about riding.
    • I look into people’s gardens to admire the flowers — and see how many cats I can spot each day! More of them on clear crisp mornings, since they don’t mind the cold, and on the rainy days the few who are out are huddled on doorsteps.
    • My bike is my zen time. I love it and need it in order to feel ..sane..throughout my busy hectic life.
    • I agree with your shower analogy!
      I also often use it as an opportunity to listen to any new music I’ve downloaded, I’ll dump it all in a playlist and listen to it as I go.
    • Mostly I compose angry blog posts about all the things that drivers aren’t supposed to be doing but are!
    • I mutter about bad/blind drivers. Most of the time when I get on my bike I’m cycling around the city I grew up in, on my return from uni so I savour the local area, and appreciate the fact that I know it so well. I tend to use cycling as relaxation time, and just concentrate on the ride, to give my brain a well earned break.
    • enjoy the moment – soak in what I see – i love every minute!
    • I agree, enjoy the moment, feeling the breeze and just soaking it up.
    • Smoke, either my pipe or Sobraine Blacks. Both help with the up hill bits. [My] Pashley’s only got three gears, so I have firm thighs.
    • Don’t talk about uphill cycling. Puff the magic dragon…… in those moments I’m debating in my head should I give up and push the bike up the hill or keep going – deal with burn, its good for ya, will I make it to the top…….
    • Can’t listen to music though here we have to be very aware of the car drivers who would just love for us to not be sharing the road with them.

With permission from and thanks to contributors across various Livejournal communities and Facebook pages.

The question also started a mini-debate in response to a joke on this particular post, as well as plenty of conversations between cyclists across the UK. For me, a typical cycle journey is something like taking a shower; I will frequently finish off conversations with humorous comebacks or sharp remarks that didn’t come to me at the time. I will prepare extensive monologues telling certain people just what I think of them. I’ll catalogue a list of regrets, from the trivial (knocking over a pint at that gig I went to when I was 16, making everyone think I was drunk when I wasn’t) to the more significant (errors in judgement made throughout the years). I sing snatches of songs – and not always quietly to myself. I plan recipes, outfits, shopping lists and even blog posts, and most frequently, I will inwardly rant about careless motorists and why don’t people indicate any more?!


With this in mind, a couple of days ago a friend handed me a flyer from TFL – a poster that reads in large white letters: ” I dream that something amazing will happen that completely changes the course of my life”. This is part of a larger scale project lead by artist Daria Martin commissioned for TFL to find out what people think about as they commute on the Jubilee Line. If you want to take part in the project, visit the Art On the Underground page and submit your daydream at the bottom of the page.


So what do you think about?


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