What is Flow?
You know that feeling when everything just clicks and you are one with your bike, the trail, the universe? You lose all sense of time as you’re fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process.
Hello, Flow. So nice to see you again.
Turns out there are ways to find your flow that go beyond snapping a high speed corner and we’re exploring a few, perhaps unexpected, methods. The type of flow that stems from the warm and fuzzies of doing good and giving back.
1. Be a Good Human
Say “hi” to other trail users, understand trail etiquette and follow it, drive slowly in and out of the trailhead, pick up litter, and avoid riding in trail-damaging conditions.
Share these basic rules with your friends, family, and kids and don’t be afraid to (kindly) mention them to a fellow trail-user (who’s not a stranger because you’ve just waved and said hello!). Staying on positive terms with other trail users will allow mountain bikers to maintain and even improve access to our favorite riding areas.
2. Connect with Your Trail Organization
No. Those trails you’re riding were not stomped in by flow-seeking reindeer. Nor were they chiseled away by tiny elves with pick-axes. Head to Trailforks to find a trail near you, scroll down to “Local Trail Organization” and voila! Those are the generous souls that build, maintain and advocate for the trails you ride. Become a member, sign up for their newsletter, follow them on social media, let them know when you see an issue like a downed tree, and, most importantly, stay in the loop on all the different ways you can get involved at your local level. There’s no better flow than the flow in your own backyard!
3. Show Up and Dig In!
Now that you know about all the volunteer opportunities thanks to your new friends at your local trail organization, it’s time to show up to a dig party! As you play in the dirt shoveling, tamping, and molding the singletrack, you’ll find yourself getting lost in the process and uncovering a fresh appreciation for the trail – that’s flow. When the time comes to ride that section, the payoff is a whole new level of rewarding and you are guaranteed to find an elevated level of flow.
Bonus points for the upper body and core workout!
4. Inspire the Next Generation of Mountain Bikers
Seeing the world through a kid’s eyes is always a treat. Seeing the singletrack through their eyes, however, is a gold mine. Become a Little Bellas mentor, volunteer at a Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day event, or ride sweep at a NICA race and transport yourself back in time to when you were just discovering the freedom, exhilaration and connection with nature that a bicycle gives you. Kids need to see that growing up doesn’t mean you have to stop playing and we know you’re up for that task! You might just find yourself feeling like a kid again.
5. Share your Love of Flow THIS Generation of Mountain Bikers
More comfortable hanging out with folks your own age? Get involved with a local ride or advocacy group. Offer to lead a group ride (more on that here), show up and support your local shop ride, or grab a neighbor, loan them your old bike and a helmet and introduce them to the sport.
Some of our favorites local groups to ride with are: Girls Gone Riding (San Diego, CA), Sorella Cycling (Atlanta, GA), and Girls Rock (Santa Cruz, CA).
We get it, you’re busy and your limited spare time needs to be spent finding flow ON your bike. Thankfully, you can still support these organizations that are making the world a better place through the power of the bicycle with dollar bills. Besides any of the aforementioned organizations, check out World Bicycle Relief, People For Bikes, and Project Bike Love.
Now is the fun part! You know that volunteering, giving, and getting involved not only gives you the warm fuzzies, now it’s just a matter of choosing what gives you the warmest fuzzies and diving in head first.