Flow, and Cycling

October 31, 2005 at 10:39 pm

Tonight I read a post by Eldon, where (among other things) he says that he has learned how to lose himself in his ride. I’ve experienced that a number of times – I’m just riding, still paying attention to what’s going on, but not thinking about anything.

I’ve been thinking about how that relates to the flow state when programming. In my experience, it’s a lot easier to get into the flow state when programming than it is to get into the analogous state when riding. It may have to do with the degree to which you can shut out external input. In programming, it’s pretty easy – put on some appropriate music, and lose myself in the task. On the bike, it’s often not possible, since losing oneself can have some pretty bad consequences.

Thoughts? Are the two states analogous, or are they different things entirely?