Radar Detectors are Hindering Our Progress
I am a Schwinn Ambassador. Schwinn has been generous enough to send me two bicycles, so far, that I embraced in a way that was unexpected
How I Found Freedom on a Bicycle
It has been 3 hours. I can ride for three more if I was allowed . . . I am struggling to find myself. I guess like any other boy my age(?)
But the wind . . .
The air whistling through the spokes of the wheels. The gentle blanket of a summer breeze carefully resting on my face . . . peaceful resistance. The pedals go where my mind is seated. I forget who I am.
There are six of us pedaling around town looking for nothing. We split ourselves into cops & robbers & a chase ensues. Hearts are racing & vocal cords are straining with every smile. Laughter is the penalty when caught. We only stopped after the lightning bugs began their rounds, & the sun decided to dissipate for a bit until tomorrow. "Later!"
It affects the lives of more & more humans everyday.
My useless opinion states, & always will, that Social Media is a large contributor. An emotional brain pan in a skin-walking skeleton was never, NEVER meant to endure this much manipulated information. It will continue to become more intrusive in our daily lives to the point of an existence that only matters if YOU are seen by at least 500 complete strangers buying some groceries. All of us. All of us have ceased being human & insist on being computerized.
Content towards sensitive issues & respect for (individual) Humans as positive contributors for a prosperous society are no more. We now ask how benefits will come to us when nothing more had been done than being a compassionate person. Everyone needs validation. Whether it is how many dishes were done or how many club selfies can be taken in an hour, we, WE are so selfish.
The trick is to find an activity that allows the individual to forget. Forget what, you ask? Exactly. I forgot already. Did you? Now, the new; implanted activity is the struggle . . .
Battling Mental Illness
Having Anxiety, & OCD, makes it impossible to fathom changing a routine without having a panic attack. When I change my routine the rest of my day suffers because I am only thinking about the tasks I'm NOT DOINNNG!!!! But the tasks are very menial. Picking up after the dogs, sweeping the kitchen floor, doing 3 sets of 20 chin ups, everyday---->Can ya relate?
Waking up everyday dreading if there is enough time in the day to properly complete your prescribed chores; not abnormal for someone with mental illness. This is part of it. We forget that.
It's been more than a month & less than a year since I started riding a bicycle again. The first time I pedaled down the roads of our development I thought I was clearly too stoned because I should not be enjoying this so much. Check your head. The first ride lasted no longer than forever . . .
I felt happy
It sounds simple. A simple statement from a simple man. But I have to disagree, friends. I am never happy.
The closest a depressed person gets to happiness is not feeling depressed. Understand? When ya can wake up & walk around the world for a moment not mad at the toaster or lack of good coffee in your cup; not stewing over the idiots posting stupid things on Facebook the night before; not anxious about having to wait in line somewhere today & having to scan the whole store every second, & being worried that the fluorescent lights might effect your vision in the store, it's gonna be a good day!
The 30 second bike ride made me blank. Blank as a fart. It was heaven. No thoughts. Just forward movement from my inertia. Those thoughts tapping & scraping inside my head every second of every sleeping & waking moment were gone. Where did they go? If they disappeared once, it must mean . . . rehabilitation.
Endorphin's feel good? I always thought they kinda stung a lil' bit. That rush of blood & crowded veins shooting through my body wasn't painful at all. I felt rejuvenated. I wasn't angry. I was not about to reign blows down on some jerk. I was not about to jump out of a perfectly fine aircraft into the black of night with 150 pounds of whatever strapped to me. I wasn't angered by suspicion or paranoia.
Hey. Wait a second. This isn't adrenaline fueled angst getting ready for retaliation. This feeling is something all together new & wonderful. I was happy.
I managed to find a useful task that I could easily insert into my closet regime of mental chores assigned by my illness.
With love & support from my girlfriend, Jen, of many years—“YEARS", wow, nothing in my life has made it past 2.5 years before the boredom or anxiety of repetition made me snap (& usually up & leave). Retreat. I am very fortunate to have Jen. How many people do you think can see through my illness & appreciate the weirdo that is "Rudedog Chew". Not many. Especially girlfriends & friends throughout the years. So many subjects to write about. Focus.
Jen & I became Schwinn Ambassadors. I ride a Schwinn Sivica. So far, it is my favorite model. I haul ass on that heavy bike. The tires are almost motorcycle equivalent in size & the frame reminds me of Dennis Hopper's Harley in Easy Rider, except with anorexia. The bike is considered a Cruiser "Hybrid" because of the 7 speed gear shifter.
I found an old military ruck sack accessory from that time in my life, & strapped it to the side of the bicycle. It looks like a mini saddle bag. If you can't tell yet, I can't ride motorcycles. They terrify me. I always wreck in 20 seconds or less. Call it over compensating. Instead of a Monster Truck & a lift kit and 35' Mud Swampers, I have my Schwinn. No scary motors attached.
Out in the high desert there is no lack of unrequited scenery flowing further than my eyes can see. Then, to be on a bicycle pedaling as fast as I can until my heart rate passes by. Cars go by in slow motion.
If I could just have a few more gears I would pass these drivers! There are a few inclines on the 10 foot wide sidewalks that get those thighs burnin'. It is always entertaining being at just the right height on the seat to see over the backyard walls of every house shadowed by my pedaling. A face full of sand from a 60mph wind gust may surprise me once in a while, but I always say it's good for the pores.
The number of dogs to people in my neighborhood makes me chuckle every time I ride. Some dogs get their very own infrastructures of fence & shade & giant bowls of water. Some backyards look like a microcosm of Baghdad. The empty dog parks with the sound of sprinklers swimming through the echoes between the arroyo paths. That little tug on my thighs keeps me focused on not slowing down because of a tidbit of discomfort. I just inhale the dust & dry heat through my nose & continue. Coming up to my favorite stretch of road for maximum speed. I refuse to stop pedaling until my determination has no need for anymore gears & pedaling becomes futile against my adrenaline fixed forward velocity.
I recently found out my bike is a Cruiser. Wait I said that. So I do, I cruise! But on Jen's last Schwinn Ambassador Retreat, that's right, some of the higher ups, if ya wanna call'em that, asked Jen how I like my bike(s) so generously gifted to me. Obviously she exalted I love them, but she worries about my speed. You'll notice as this blog goes on, I have a problem with speed limitations of any sort. The "Schwinners" asked, "What do ya mean?" (Trevor) goes 30mph sometimes, she said. The room fell silent for a second. It was like I just broke the sound barrier for the first time & everyone was still trying to get their hearing back.
The Schwinners did not believe my love & touch. She had to show them my Strava App. posts for my rides. I like to keep track. I like to see how fast I went. Sorry. The speed thing. It's a fantastic problem. So, I found out my bike model is made for a maximum speed of maybe 12mph. Twelve??? That's my average speed for my 4-10 mile rides? What? The Schwinners sent my Strava results to the product department or something for evaluation.
"A man's got to know his limitations" ~Dirty Harry
I had no limitations. There was no warning label on this bike. I merely connected with a 600 dollar piece of metal with some rubber attached & took off. It lifted the weight of my mental illness off my shoulders & placed it on my handlebars to scare the hell out of. I approached bike riding like I needed to approach life; no limitations. I saw no boundaries.
This may only last 30 minutes to an hour, but the air whistling through the spokes of the wheels. The gentle blanket of a summer breeze carefully resting on my face . . . peaceful resistance. The pedals go where my mind is seated. I forget who I am.
About the Author - Trevor Kondor
I am an Army Veteran dealing with mental illness, who just wants to share. What I write may spark something positive in someone else dealing with this illness & that is FANTASTIC!
Starting a blog page isn't as easy as I thought it would be. I mean, obviously, I have plenty to say about pretty much everything, but, SOCIAL MEDIA sites are too much of a release for my negative energy, & believe it or not, I want to help people. Specifically, Veterans with mental illness.
I want my blog to be a place where a confused, stressed, anxiety filled individual, like myself, can read entertaining rhetoric & (my) muses & share experiences that help all of us realize no one is alone in this weird & often misunderstood battle with neurotransmitters.
I can help, but I need help. That is the beauty . . . Sharing. So, I am writing again. Which is something that I have held dear to my soul for decades . . . my ability to be free once my fingers hit that keyboard. It is the only thing in my life I am pretty sure I can keep up with anyone without violence being involved.