The Way I Choose to Ride My Bike

I’ve been monitoring the weather all week in hopes that both the temperature and the wind would cooperate so I could actually get out on my bike.

They did and I did.

In the last few months of cold weather, I’ve only been out on my bike four times. Yes, I’ve actually kept track. And, while I most definitely have a passion for riding my bike, I’m not sure which I enjoy more: the actual riding or the challenges that come with it.

Not everyone gets this. I’ve discovered that a lot of people who are bike riding enthusiasts simply like leisurely rides so they can enjoy a pretty day or the beauty of the world around them. Some people even prefer to stay on flat land as much as possible.  

Not me. I love hills.

I can’t stand taking the easy route. It’s just not as interesting, exciting or challenging.

And, to be honest, I don’t really take the easy route when it comes to other parts of my life either.  I guess how a person rides (or even doesn’t ride) a bike says a lot about how they live their life.

The thought first struck me years ago as I was struggling up an extremely steep hill. “I could have chosen an easier route,” I thought. “But if I did, I wouldn’t feel as strong at the top.”

Those hills are just like life’s challenges. None of us has a perfect life and all of us have our uphill climbs.  But we also have choices as to how we face them.

We can either accept that challenges will be there and choose to tackle them head on, knowing that eventually things will get easier and we can enjoy the downhill glide, or we can try to avoid them and never have the opportunity for growth.

There are obvious benefits to choosing the easy route. There’s very little stress. There’s very little risk. And, you can focus on your surroundings and enjoy them. Granted, even when you take the easy road, there are always bumps and you’re always going to face a few hills. But, if you haven’t been practicing for those hills, building up your endurance, they are even harder to face when you are forced to go up them.

As I struggle to go up hill, no matter how much I want to quit, no matter how much my lungs feel like they are going to burst and no matter how my legs ache, I don’t let myself stop or turn around. I convince myself I will make it to the top, because, every time I do?  I not only build my strength, I also build my confidence.

Besides, there is something to be said for making it to the top of a particularly steep climb with your pulse racing, your heart pumping and your nerves on edge. Not only do you have the sense of pride and accomplishment, but you know that, at least for the moment, you face a glorious, joyful, breathtaking dive downhill along with an opportunity to simply appreciate the moment. And, at least for me, I feel like I’ve earned the right to sit back, breathe deep, admire, the scenery, and appreciate a much deserved “easy ride.”

And the next time I face a hill, whether by choice or by circumstance, I don’t have any doubt that I can conquer it. Just like those uphill battles I face in life.

About Trina Bartlett

I live in the Eastern Panhandle of WV, with one dog, two cats, and a husband who works strange hours. I can generally be found wandering through the woods my dog, playing in and planting in dirt, and generally stirring things up.

Posted on February 27, 2011, in My life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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