10 Life Lessons My Bike Has Taught Me, Part 2

Shotski.
Shotski.

Being open to adventure has its rewards

Welcome back! In Part 1 of this post, I explained five of the life lessons I've learned from riding my bike:

  1. You’re stronger than you think you are.
  2. Focus on the present moment.
  3. Break things into manageable chunks.
  4. Listen to your body.
  5. Learn to change a tire.

Here is Part Dos of those life lessons:

6. Enjoy the ride. Riding a bike can be hard work, challenging and downright painful (not usually, but sometimes). There are times when you want nothing more than to get off the damn thing and walk away. However, if you can stop and take a deep breath, you might have a fighting chance. Remind yourself what a blessing it is to be able to use your body to move through the world and how important it is to take care of your body and mind.

7. You reap what you sow.Like most things in life, you get out what you put in. You can skate through training or try to find the shortcuts, but you won’t get the same results or satisfaction as if you do it right. When you ride up that huge hill you get to cruise down it with the wind in your face, when you train your butt off for a big ride, you get to have fun and ride it well rather than being in pain.

8. A little encouragement can go a long way. I've been on both sides of this one and its unbelievable what a difference it can make. There are times you feel like you can't go any farther and there are times you feel great but your riding buddy feels like she’s done for. Being positive and uplifting can make a world of difference.

One of the cheesiest things I do when I’m by myself on a long ride is make up these weird mantra songs that don’t quite make sense. They usually reference what a champion I am and how easily I'm going to crush the huge hills trying to devour me. It's weird, but there’s something comforting about it. With every repetition I go a little farther and accomplish a little more. Try it. Just don’t say it too loud.

9. You’re going to crash. You can do everything you can to avoid crashing, but at some point its gonna happen. It might be your fault (eh, sorry Jess!), it might be totally stupid (damn clipless pedals!), but sometimes, things just happen. That doesn’t mean you have free reign to give up, it just means you can prepare and know that when it happens you need to pick yourself up, brush yourself off and keep going.

10. Be open to adventure. Especially when you start riding very far, or riding with groups of people, you have to be open to trying new things and going outside of your comfort zone. They may suggest a ride in an area you’re completely unfamiliar with or you may have to encounter obstacles (‘rolling’ hills, gravel roads and fast paces) that you’d rather avoid. But having an open mind and being ready for whatever lies before you will take you to new places and teach you something about yourself.

Want to go out and ride a bike, but not sure where to get started? Check out this post for some great KC bicycling resources or this one on choosing the right bike for you. Ready to take it to the next level? Check out my tips for how to prepare for your first century. And I'll see you on the open road!