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Kelton’s Topanga notebook

Kelton Wright lives in Topanga with a dog called Cooper and a cat called Finn. Working as Director of Movement and Sport at Headspace, Wright is a published author and keen cyclist, leading rides from Rapha Santa Monica.

08 April 2019
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Ask a cyclist why they ride and you’ll hear all kinds of answers. For Kelton Wright, it’s not just one thing – nor is it simple.

“I ride my bike to deal with my anxiety, and the onslaught of thoughts in my head. When I want to channel those thoughts into something productive, I need a brain wash first – like a literal wash – and cycling does that for me,” she says. “Riding helps clear out the garbage and streamlines my thoughts so I can use them for something worthwhile.”

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Rapha Core Cargo Shorts
Rapha Core Cargo Shorts

Working for Headspace – a company known for its app that provides guided meditation via your smartphone – if anyone could speak with authority on the introspective benefits of riding a bike, it would be Kelton.

“On a bike it’s just you and the road, the lines and the cars and the birds and the elements. You’re very focussed on the world immediately in front of you, and how you react to it is super important.”

So, while the fundamental work involved in riding a bike is physical and quickly becomes rote, the hidden benefit is that your mind is freed up to mull over other things – or not, as sometimes the case may be.

“There’s no time to be processing extra nonsense when you’re going round a tight corner with debris on the road and a car coming towards you. You’re right there, focussing on your actions, working in a reactive state – in a good way.”

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Rapha Core Cargo Shorts

Of course, it’s not always that riding demands this level of presence. In Kelton’s case, however, it’s a feature of every ride.

“When I leave my house, I’m going down an incredibly steep mountain. There’s no other way to start my ride – other than going up an incredibly steep mountain. So you’re either in deep muscle pain, or it’s deep focus on a dangerous descent. Your thoughts are streamlined whether you want them to be or not.”

So, in this way, riding invariably becomes a form of meditation. And while cycling might be seen by some as a simplistic pastime – nearly all of us started riding as kids – the benefits clearly extend well into adulthood and even beyond, into our working lives.

“When I’m working, cycling helps clear out preconceptions of where what I’m writing is going to go. Often that little nugget of what’s good comes while I’m out on the ride. I don’t want to lose it out there on the road, so I stop and scribble it down.”

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Rapha Core Cargo Shorts
Rapha Core Cargo Shorts

In an increasingly tech-savvy world, working for a company whose business is based on smartphone ownership, why does Kelton choose to write this way?

“There’s something about taking notes, writing them with a pen and paper, that translates better for me. It makes the idea more tactile,” says Wright.

But it’s not not just that. Like riding, the act of writing forces a kind of presence.

“If I have writer’s block, cycling usually clears that up for me. If I have a story I’m writing or a script I’m working on and I’m not making any headway, then I’ll get on the bike for a short ride,” says Wright. “That’s why I carry the notebook and the pen with me.”

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Rapha Core Cargo Shorts
Rapha Core Cargo Shorts

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