“It sounds like some form of meditation, and in a way it is. Performing a familiar task, like driving a car or riding a bicycle, puts one into a zone that is not too deep or involving.
The activity is repetitive, mechanical, and it distracts and occupies the conscious mind, or at least part of it, in a way that is just engaging enough but not too much – it doesn’t cause you to be caught off guard.
It facilities a state of mind that allows some but not too much of the unconscious to bubble up. As someone who believes that much of the source of his work and creativity is to be gleaned from those bubbles, it’s a reliable place to find that connection.” – David Byrne Bicycle Diaries
I agree with Mr. Byrne. Certain tasks allow me to occupy my conscious mind partially so that my unconscious can simmer and come up with good ideas, solutions, and creations (Maya Angelou said that she used to play solitaire to keep her ‘little mind’ busy while her big mind worked).
Cooking, folding laundry, gardening – all these work for me.
And riding my bicycle with my dog too, of course.