Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's Just Like Riding a Bicycle....

Who hasn't heard that phrase... "just like riding a bicycle"... ? When it's uttered, it's usually a form of encouragement. It usually means that even if time has passed, you can get right back on and pick up where you left off... once you've gained the skills you never lose them... right?

Well, getting back on the bike is not always easy. Once on, yes, though wobbly at first, you do remember where the pedals are, and you miraculously find your balance. That is, once you find yourself actually ON the bike.... and that first step, is usually where we find ourselves stuck.

When I was a teenager, I rode my bicycle everywhere. No joke - I must have logged between 20 and 30 miles a day. I rode to school, to work, to friends houses, to my boyfriends house (which was up a road called Mountain Road... to give you an idea) I rode to Town Landing Market which was a good 10 miles from my house. I rode down to the pier, and back up the hill (which, at this point in my life, I'm not sure I could even WALK up that incline!)

So what changed? Well, I got a car. I went to college, and I got a job. I got busy. And in my busy life... well, I got rather lazy. Nearly 20 years later... I take my car to the market up the road. My bike sits lonely and abandoned, and as the gas prices go up, so does my weight.

This past spring, I did an assessment of my level of satisfaction I have with my life by completing the life wheel.

I discovered I am pretty satisfied in most areas of my life - but health and wellness scored rather low, and fun and enjoyment wasn't as high as I wanted it to be. That surprised me a little, because sometimes I get hard on myself for having TOO much fun (is that possible?) and not being disciplined ENOUGH. So, knowing that of myself, I realized that if I am going to increase my satisfaction of health and wellness, it needs to be FUN. I thought back to when I felt the healthiest in my life... and it was when I was riding my bike. I also remembered it was a happy time in my life, and full of adventure. Beside the "Fun and Enjoyment" section of the life wheel I wrote "Create more Adventures!" and beside the "Health and Wellness" section of the life wheel I wrote "get out and ride!"

The next day I was gung ho. It was a gentle spring day, that morning I resolved to dig through the abyss of my storage area and pull out my bike. Once retrieved from it's days of solitary confinement, I spent the day washing it, oiling up the chain and getting it ready. But, because it is Maine, and the spring days were short, the sun set before I had a chance to try it out... that's ok.. because tomorrow - tomorrow is the day I ride!

The next day it snowed - four inches.

My bike has been sitting in my breezeway since April. For four months I walked past that bike every day. At first it taunted me, then it became invisible. The cobwebs grew back, the dust became thick, and the tires drooped... as did my own spare tire and saggy bottom.

It's just like riding a bike....

Recently, my sister and brother-in-law posted on Facebook their new-found love of biking. They posted pictures of their adventures out on Peaks Island... their healthy, sun kissed faces smiling back at the photos made me yearn to be whizzing down the trials, wind in my hair, sun on my face, and the burn of cardio rushing through my lungs.

I wrote in my journal that I was going to get my bike out the next day and go for a ride.

It rained. Guess I won't be riding today.

A few weeks went by, and the bike started to fade into the background. Weeds grew up around the spokes, and the cobwebs gathered.

Isn't that just the way it is? Life IS just like riding a bicycle. You have to get on the darn thing first! Any goal you want in life, you have to be at least willing to make an effort and start.

I revisited my journal, found my life wheel, and realized I had done nothing to achieve my goal of riding my bike this summer, and now the summer is half over. I resolved I would go the very next day.

I woke up that morning, drank some coffee, and went to get dressed. Shouldn't I have some fancy shorts or something to wear? I should go to the store and get some shorts.

Four hours later, I left Walmart with everything BUT a pair of biking shorts. I decided I wanted to lose some weight before trying to fit into spandex anything. The way I want to lose weight is to ride my bike. Aw heck, when I was a teenager, I just rode around in jeans and a t-shirt - I don't need any fancy biker shorts! ... too tired to ride today... guess I will go another day.

And a few more weeks went by.....

This past Sunday, I woke up especially early for no good reason. Annoyed that I could have slept in, I started watching the news, and the first commercial came on was for back-to-school savings. The summer is almost over, and here I sit....

I marched outside with a mission. I grabbed the bike from it's resting spot and pulled the weeds out from the spokes. The cobwebs tore away like velcro and released the bike from their sticky grasp. Nothing was going to stop me now! I am going for a ride! I even told Lexi (my dog) she could come along. We were going to have an adventure - Bwah ha ha ha!

The tires are flat. I guess we are ......

NO. I am riding today! I am going! I don't care if I need to blow them up like balloons myself! Luckily, (for me and my lungs) I did find a bike pump in the garage, and a few minutes later, my tires were inflated to the proper pressure.

Don't think too hard about it Cilly - just get on the bike and ride. I swung my leg over, placed my feet on the pedals... and off we went, my dog running along beside me.

There we were, whizzing through the trails, breeze in my hair and sun on my face... and I thought to myself.... "what the heck took me so long?"