Why We Ride: Lynn Huiskamp
“Biking is freedom. Autonomy. And strength. After years of social disconnect, I rediscovered the power of music and gained a true appreciation for mindfulness through riding a bike regularly. And I became a happier person because of it.”
Lynn Huiskamp wasn’t always an avid bicyclist. In fact, it wasn’t until she was in her forties that she reconnected to the joys of the breeze whipping past her, the fresh scents of the outdoors being carried on those breezes, and the fulfilling rhythm of sheer freedom pulsating through her veins. As a mother, she had dedicated most of her time and energy to her children; as a healthcare practitioner, she gave all that remained to her patients and team. But something was calling to her - as a person who’d always enjoyed and partaken in different strains of physical exercise, Lynn was drawn to the peace that biking offered. An escape from her daily routine. It didn’t take long for her to fall back in love with one of her favorite childhood pastimes and began noticing the expansion of her senses, interests, and overall happiness.
“So much scientific evidence exists proving the positive impact nature has on both our physical and mental health. Being out in nature slows our pulse, blood pressure, and cortisol levels caused from chronic stress. As a health and wellness provider, I have been well aware of the data for years but experiencing it firsthand has only strengthened my passion to spend more time in green spaces, encourage others to do so, and work with communities to build intentionally to support healthier lifestyles - which includes micro-commuting. Biking is one way I can invest in not only my health but our planet’s.”
Escape and Reconnect
“For many years my emotional and physical health was not ideal. After I started taking simple little ten-minute bike rides to find peace and quiet from a busy household and work life, my world opened up again. Honestly, I had no intention of becoming an avid cyclist or doing anything outside long term, but I just kept doing it because every time I would come back feeling better. When I first started I wasn't like this mindfulness guru t who knew to pay attention to the sounds of the crickets - I grew to be that through my travels. I started smelling the wind instead of just feeling it. Feeling the warmth of the sun and enjoying the diversity in weather. I discovered music again through the sound of silence and nature’s gentle whispers. A new adventure accompanied every sunrise and sunset from the seat of my bike”.
Lynn went from 10 minute biking breathers to biking 25 miles a day to and from work through all sorts of Midwest weather conditions with the capacity of a 100 mile day excursion when she feels like exploring.
“I remember the first day I decided I was going to try to bike to work and back home again. Round trip being 25 miles. My eldest child had turned 16 and had just gotten their license, so I figured if I absolutely needed to, I would call them and have them come and pick me and my bike up. But I never needed to call. And I never stopped from then on. Instead, my life somewhat put micro-commuting at the epicenter for planning. Every Sunday I look at the weekly forecast including wind speeds to prepare my biking wardrobe, pack snacks for the ride, and look at route alterations in construction season. Biking makes me live more intentionally while bringing so much joy along with the extra forethought.”
Working Towards Built Environments
Working for an employer that supports her micro-commuting lifestyle has been a game changer for Lynn.
“Where I work now has a fitness center attached, so it’s easy for me to take a quick shower and change into more professional - looking clothes. I can only imagine having clothes that would transform with me from the road to the workplace and am extremely excited to hear that there are creators and change makers like Atelier Volant in the world supporting us. I also appreciate the fact that when I asked if our facility had bike racks to lock up to after getting into work, my employer didn’t hesitate to install some after realizing there were none. I recognize just how lucky I am but also actively advocate for better Built Environments among city planners and employers to support, grow, and nurture healthier, more active, less damaging lifestyles. Other countries are leading some of these efforts with extremely dedicated research connecting overall human health and tree canopies. The more canopies, the healthier and happier the people are. More thoughtful design can support safe active transportation, innovative parking solutions, and prioritized green spaces for all city areas..
Besides research, thoughtful Built Environments are making healthy options the only option. If there is no alternative luring you away, the healthy option becomes the default you expect and plan for. In my role as a health and wellness provider, it’s not my job to shame people into the things they aren’t doing, but to encourage them to identify what they want more of in life. Help them paint a picture of what that looks like for them. Seeing someone gain confidence by testing that out in small bits is immensely powerful. What would life look like for someone who could hop on a bike and ride for that 10 minutes a day? How would they feel? What would they be more open to experiencing? What would their relationship with nature grow to be?”
Future forward commuters like Lynn are leaders for change - change for a cleaner mind, body, spirit, and planet. Are you ready to take on Lynn’s 10 minute a day challenge?
If you are, we’d love to hear about your progress. What are some of your answers to Lynn’s questions above? Big impact starts with small doses and we are here to support your ride.