Life is Like… a bike ride

Ever been on a good bike ride? No, not the beach cruising, doggie in a basket kind nor the cushy for the tushy touristy lookey-loo kind. I am talking about the hard as a rock, too small for the cheeks seat kind; the kind that strains muscles you didn’t know you had.

I have been on THAT kind of ride. A few years back, the hubby insisted I get the skinny tire kind of bike, when I really wanted a knobby tired kind. (Long story of marital communication break down. We’ve “recovered” since then!!!) Yep, I became one with my bike; clipping my shoes in, donning the padded booty spandex shorts, the alien helmet and the many pocketed zip up shirt. (Why those shirts have that many pockets is beyond me. It’s not like you are packing for a day trip!)

Since childhood, I have always enjoyed bike riding, but this was something different- a new kind of pastime beast. As a kid, I loved the feeling of the wind in my face and the power to pedal as hard as my legs could carry me, going places faster than I ever could have on foot. Now I was balanced precariously on ultra thin tires, tottering on the edge of a road, hoping and praying that the cars down draft would not blow me off into the wicked thorny weed patch just a few feet away.

Life is like THAT kind of bike ride.  I was reminded of this yesterday when discussing the ride to/from my son’s workplace. It happens to be nestled up in the hills of our city.

The hills, oh how lovely they are, but the quad burn as you churn at the pedals… oh man. You stand up (this is supposed to make it easier- ha- I don’t think so). You sit back down. The front tire wobbles as your forearms strain for control. If you stop, it literally seems almost impossible to get going again. No, the momentum must continue. Movement propels you, compels you to keep at it, despite the burn in your calves and the sweat trickling down your back. “Don’t stop”, you tell yourself- and that is good advice.

Here is why: you know that just beyond the crest of that next peak is the down grade- the moment you have been waiting for. For all the toil and pain, now comes the ecstasy of flying free. Your feet will barely have to move the pedals and the wind blasts your sweaty face like a giant air conditioning vent. It is pure exhilaration! During those few minutes you forget everything else as the scenery rushes past and your heart beat slows. You may even have a sudden urge to let go of the handle bars and take your feet off the pedals- but (hopefully) the better part of reason kicks in and you avoid this danger. Coasting downhill is the taste of soaring freedom that makes the climb worth every ounce of toil.The thrill of this part of the ride may be short-lived, but that ‘s alright because you know it will come again and when it does, be ready to let it invigorate you body and soul.

And so it is with life: Remember the enthralling joys in the moments of pain, toil and struggle. Be propelled forward by it, keeping the momentum when the burn overtakes every muscle. Look ahead to the peak. Don’t be engulfed by the climb.

{Oh and from one bike rider to another- never forget the padded spandex! Your tush will thank me!}