Saturday I went for a 14 mile bike ride with the boys in the trailer. It was hot and humid and I ran into one of the women I teach yoga to on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Other than that, the ride was pretty uneventful. I was able to ride the entire first half of the ride in the big gear up front and somewhere around 4-5 on the little set. But it kept sticking and shifting was a constant necessity. I brought it back down to the middle gear up front on the ride home into the wind. You can see my ride here on MapMyRun.
However, the entire time I was riding I was thinking about my life with a bike and came up with this list of Things that Cycling has Taught Me and metaphors on life.
- In life something is always spinning around.
- When we bike, like in life, we either go forward or stay still. You can backpedal if you like, but it doesn’t change the forward progress.
- There will always be uphills and downhills and even the flats aren’t as easy as you think.
- Sometimes you’re locked into the pedals and sometimes you have freer movement.
- You can always go home, but even after a short ride, you’re always a different person than when you left.
- There are other riders around you on their own journey, some on the same path who are having a different experience, and then there are the people out there who aren’t paying any attention to you and might mow you down…..BE AWARE! not….beware.
- Head protection is key….just like the right fit.
- Even the same path looks different each day; enjoy the variety that life offers even if it seems mundane and repetitive.
- Sometimes your bike is old, sometimes it is new, sometimes it’s borrowed from a friend who supports you…..sometimes it’s blue
I know that my thoughts aren’t very eloquent or unique, but one thing that cycling has given me over the years is a sense of empowerment. Who didn’t feel like they could conquer the world when they learned how to ride a bike?
In 2009 I rode my bike for 175 miles in 2 days to support fundraising for Multiple Sclerosis. It was a great cause and I enjoyed the challenge of the ride. However, after going through a divorce, a break up with my first serious boyfriend post-divorce, and quitting my job, the ride was much more to me. I went on this ride alone. I had no friends as a support team to meet me along the way. There wasn’t anyone to sit in my hotel room at night and watch tv as I ached and dreaded the second day. At the end of the event I packed up my bike myself and got in my car and drove the hours and hours back to my little house where my two Great Danes waited for me and we rested together. There wasn’t any fanfare orver my completion….just me and a bike and the random people I met along the way. I took this picture of myself at the end of the event.
A selfie of self-assuredness. I had no real plan for my future that day and it would be 12 more days until I met my husband and almost 2 months more before I was accepted into grad school again. I had no job, no anything, just me. And I was so happy and sure that that was aneough to make life good!
Now I ride with my boys behind me. The big guy will soon be riding beside me and I couldn’t be happier. But I know, that even if things hadn’t turned out the way they did, that I would have been okay on my own too. I think every person needs to have that lesson. You need to know that you can do it all by yourself. I’m curous….