I came across this article from the Independent that discuss the way biking can effect our brains.
It struck me as interesting because I realized this is exactly how I felt on my bike. When riding, even in a group, my thoughts tend to roam around. I come up with ideas, I solve work problems, or finish legal briefs in my head. I also have moments where there are no thoughts -- just as the writer discusses miles going by without any recollection of where you have just been riding. It is freedom. Bliss.
Not only that, but after most rides I feel invigorated. I want to do more with my day. I want to eat and be healthier. I feel motivated. Overall, I feel good. I don't know if cycling has made me smarter, I would like to think I am already smart. However, to me it is clear that I am more motivated after rides, whether for exercise or a commute, to do more with my day.
I have noticed the opposite is true when I ride the trainer. Maybe it is because I am not outdoors riding. Maybe it is because I am watching t.v. shows or movies, and thus I am not alone with my thoughts. Do I still fell healthier after a trainer ride- yes. Do I feel more motivated? Not more than if I would have ridden outside.
But the overall point seems to be that cycling does effect my mind and those effects have been beneficial. My guess is many people have this same chemical reaction. After all, even after a torturous, soul sucking ride, I still get up the next day, hop back on the bike, and do it all over again.
So do yourself a favor and ride a bike. Maybe it will make you just a little bit smarter, and that is not a bad thing.