What do art and riding a bike have in common?



My hometown is located in beautiful Northwest Arkansas and we are known nationally for the Razorback Greenway and some of the most amazing bike trails in the United States. When the weather is nice, I try to ride weekly with my father, and on my ride today, it hit me how riding a bike and art have so many parallels. Stick with me – you might be surprised by just how much these two experiences have in common.

stacy spangler bicycle artwork

Enjoying the Journey: Think about it – both art and riding involve enjoying the journey rather than fixating on the destination. When I'm painting, the process is just as rewarding than the final piece. Similarly, when I'm on my bike, it's about enjoying the ride, the wind in my hair, and my body in motion, rather than solely focusing on reaching a particular destination. 

You have to Learn: Remember learning to ride a bike as a child and how it produced both feelings of fear and excitement? And the more you practiced riding your bike, the more confident you became, and even more brave like trying to ride with no hands. Now as an adult, you can get on a bike and remember how to ride, so the expression goes about things coming back easily, "It's just like riding a bike". I think the same is true with art. We learn, we practice, and the more we create, the braver we get. You can take time away from your art, but it's always there for you when you come back and you can pick up where you left off.

Freedom of Expression: When I pick up my paintbrush or hop on my bike, I'm able to enjoy self expression. Both art and cycling allow me to communicate without words, expressing myself through every stroke of color or rotation of the pedals. Just as a canvas becomes a playground for my imagination, the open road becomes a canvas of endless possibilities.

Balance and Harmony: Ah, balance – the subtle yet crucial aspect of both art and bike riding. Just as I strive for balance in my compositions, adjusting colors and shapes until they harmonize, riding a bike requires maintaining balance and rhythm to stay upright and in control. It's a delicate give and take of elements that create something beautiful.

Exploring Perspectives: When I'm in the midst of creating art, I often find myself experimenting with different perspectives and angles. I'll step back from the canvas, tilt my head, and try to see things differently. Riding a bike also encourages me to see the world from different angles – the elevated view as I coast down a hill or the ground-level perspective as I pedal through a park. It's about seeing things in a fresh way.

Therapy: Art has always been my go-to when I need an escape from big emotions, and biking offers a similar outlet. There's something cathartic about the rhythmic motion of pedaling, almost like I'm cycling away from stress and negativity. Just like a painting can capture a moment of emotion, a bike ride can provide a sense of freedom and clarity, and both provide a way to release energy.

Unexpected Discoveries: Perhaps the most thrilling similarity between art and riding a bike is the sense of discovery they both bring. When I paint, I often start with a general idea, but as the colors blend and the brush moves, the end result can surprise even me. Similarly, when I hop on my bike and follow a new trail, I uncover hidden gems, breathtaking views, and unexpected routes – a parallel journey of exploration.

So the next time you are pedaling down a sunlit trail or brushing colors onto a canvas, take a moment to appreciate the artistry in both experiences. Remember that art isn't confined to a studio, and creativity can be found even in the simplest of activities – like riding a bike. Until next time, keep pedaling and painting on, and don't forget to enjoy the journey!

If you'd like to see more of my bicycle art, please visit my shop HERE

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