I first started doing loops in Brooklyn, NY at Prospect Park back in high school. It was my respite from a life that was full of stress, violence and just genuine f*ckery. Along with that came marijuana.
I would smoke a joint or hit the bong and begin my three plus mile ride to the park. As the pedals turned, the stress would slowly melt away until I became one with the movement.
Sativa fueled me and by the time I’d get to the park it would be like someone knocked me with a “get right” stick. From the beginning, I noticed camaraderie among the Jamaican riders. These guys zipped around the park effortlessly and in between sets of loops they would congregate near the Ocean Avenue exit, to share joints.
Ride. Smoke. Ride.
I got it guys! I fit right in. The fact that I was sixteen, and a girl didn’t faze them. Sure, I couldn’t ride as fast as them but I could keep up a bit and I always had someone to ride with. Now, there’s a female crew. Get with them!
As the years went on my relationships with both cannabis and cycling changed. I went dry for a while and picked it back up around 2005.
The fluidity that had been so natural when I was younger began to return. By using cannabis, I was able to get over my fear of actually leaving the house and riding. It broke down my barriers of feeling “too exposed” and enabled me to find that groove again. I was able to enjoy breathing and getting my heart rate up. It wasn’t easy, but smoking or vaping before riding enabled me to get out and be part of life again.
I was like kick-back-homie. What a gift.
Nowadays, people are really starting to talk about the fact that, for some, marijuana helps active people find their zone. There is a presence achieved when you’re able to combine this wonderful fragrant plant with exercise — especially cycling.
I’m by no means a hipster. In fact, I’m pretty old. But brakeless fixed gear cycling is a Zen-like activity for me. You HAVE to be in the moment. You HAVE to pay attention. Marijuana helps me to settle into the rhythm, helps me to focus, and helps me to have fun.
Here’s a fun fact: Your THC level rises about fifteen percent with moderate exercise. That can obviously increase depending upon if you’re kicking a** or not.
Though it’s been said that your THC level returns to “normal” post workout, I’ve found that mine actually increases.
All in all, the benefit of pairing cannabis with riding continues to amaze me. I get less knee pain and am able to ride at a pretty solid level. Of course, I’ve been hit by cars a few times so old knee injuries are always in the background — they stay there for the most part, now.
Thank you beautiful plant for letting this old crotchety ho ride like a young gazelle.