Tag Archives: Bike Month 2021

Committing to something

Turns out a daily cycling plan is harder to stick to than expected.

What I’ve noticed since setting up this plan and not really sticking to it:

  1. I think about riding every day.
  2. The weather matches my available time only about 50% of the time.
  3. It is shockingly easier to fill of up that time with chores than to commit that time to myself.
  4. Time always feels like it’s in short supply and with the changing rules of the pandemic, time seems to be shrinking even more.
  5. Riding around the neighbourhood with the 30 minutes I have available to me each morning gets boring really fast. Going farther necessitates a major rework of my schedule that doesn’t feel feasible right now.

What I’ve learned in the last two weeks:

  1. I miss riding and I need to find a way to spend more time on my bike. I feel guilty taking more time away from family (which is the only flexible time I have right now) because I’m already committing a good chunk of time to writing and meditating. Maybe the lesson here is that I need to focus on one thing and not 10 things for myself and the guilt will fade.
  2. It’s hard to keep a steady habit when you’re counting on outside forces to fall into place. It has been very windy of late and whenever I have time to sneak in a ride, it’s raining.
  3. I have learned that if I have been putting off chores that need to get done, I should plan to go riding. Suddenly, those chores become a priority. Why is that? If I want to go cycling as badly as I think I do, why do the chores take priority?
  4. As things open up and the pandemic gets more under control, I have less time because I have more commitments to the outside world.
  5. Long rides down a winding trail are my preference and that’s not feasible right now. This inability to ride exactly how I want is affecting my riding all together. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good. I have to keep reminding myself of this.

Lessons from the ride

Day 3 of my commitment to ride every day, I struggled to get up a hill that I had basically been cruising up the first two days.

I thought to myself that the hill was a good metaphor for life. Some days, climbing a hill feels good; you’re feeling strong, ready and it’s hard work, but it’s exhilarating. You get to the top and you’re on top, not just of the hill, but on top of your game, on top of life, feeling good.

Other days, that same hill can feel too hard to climb. The pot holes and bumps that were always there and the gaping cracks around the sewer grates that you easily maneuvered around on those other days seem to gape even wider or rear up even higher in the asphalt, making them hard to get around no matter your prowess on the bike. The going is slow. It hurts everywhere in your body. You’re tired. You just want to give up. But you don’t.

You’ve done this before. Your brain, your muscles, they remember. It’s only a vague memory, but it’s there: the feeling when you get to the top of the hill and the road levels out. You can do this.

Life is full of ups and downs. It’s like that hill. Some days you’re up for it and it’s a challenge, but you face it head on, feeling strong and good, things falling into place the way the potholes on that hill seemed to move out of the way on their own. Other days, life can be too much and even a small effort feels excruciating, every pothole opening wider to swallow you up. But you keep going. Because that’s what life is. Inch by inch you move forward, closer to the top, closer to leveling out. Sometimes it feels more like millimetre by millimetre, but that’s ok. You’ve got this.

All over the map

It’s #BikeMonth and I got back on my bike today.

Took a short ride (just over 4 km); nothing extreme; just around the ‘hood in no particular direction. Up some streets, down others. Around the block several times. On some new streets. Pretty much all over the map, which is how I’ve been feeling lately.

At a few tougher points in my ride, I drew on mindfulness and my meditation practice to sit with the exhaustion and ache in my legs (I’m really out of shape).

On the cushion, I get the concept of sitting with uncomfortable emotions. I haven’t really been able to transfer that to a practice off the cushion. I haven’t tried very hard.

But this morning, I got it. Rather than wishing the ride would be over soon or trying to talk myself out of stopping for a rest, I went down yet another street, taking me farther from home knowing that I was going to be more tired AND that I could do it because I wasn’t afraid of the discomfort.

It was great to get back on my bike. The ride was good. But what I discovered about myself and how my meditation practice translates to life was better.

It is my goal to do this every day from now until the end of June. (I’m not even thinking beyond June 30 at this point. It’s self-defeating.)

Here’s to more revelations on my bike.

P.S. I’m logging my rides at bikemonth.ca. It’s fun to see my progress and be part of a group doing the same thing.