This post is for a very good friend of mine, one of the most intelligent people I know personally, who is in dire need of a hobby.
My friend, I’m not using your name here out of respect for your anonymity.
I was thinking of you today when I went out on my normal 16 mile ride after church today, a tame ride by normal standards because my legs are still a touch sore from yesterday’s run. I do this by design for several reasons, chief among them to speed up recovery, to get the blood flowing. This ride was a little different than most though. This ride was different because, for once, I allowed myself to think and enjoy the scenery. When I’m pushing all out I simply don’t bother – it’s all about moving my legs.
As I was cruising down the road at an average clip of about 17.5 mph, looking out across the greening fields and the trees just starting to sprout their leaves, smile stretched across my face, I started thinking about what it is specifically that I love so much about riding a bike. I enjoy not thinking the most, so that’s why this ride was such a departure. Beyond that, when my second foot clips into the pedal, I’m assured that for at least 49 minutes the only things I’ll be thinking of are pushing my legs around in a circle and how to best advantage the wind. Now I get a phone call from time to time that I’ll stop and answer, but that comes with my job, it is what it is.
As I cruised into my eighth mile I realized it was more than just not thinking. While I was only in my cycling shorts and a long sleeve running shirt, the sun broke through the clouds and I started to warm up so I rolled up my sleeves and unzipped my shirt down to my sternum to let the breeze in, and that’s when it hit me – I control almost everything when I’m on my bike. I control where I go, when I go, what I wear, how fast I go, how I go through intersections… I control everything except the people that use the road with me, and where I ride that’s rarely a big deal. The point is, for a short period of time all of the larger issues that I can influence but not control cease to matter – I have a temporary reprieve from everything, and on top of that I get a nice jolt of endorphins at the end.
While it’s nice that my legs are looking rather awesome and I pretty much have to eat as much as I can just to maintain my weight, riding (and to a lesser extent running and swimming) just makes me happy. If nothing changes, if my tomorrow is just like today, I’m good with that.
All I have to do is plop my butt down on a bike and pedal for my peace…and after all is said and done, isn’t that what this is all about?
Finally, if all else fails, i look at things i can’t control like this: If I am the director and all of the actors must do their job as I see fit for the show to go off without a hitch, how can I possibly expect to be happy? Oh how I stomp my feet at the slightest miscue, for surely if they had just done their job as I saw fit, all would be lovely! That’s a recipe for disaster if ever I saw one.
Anyway, that’s why I love my bikes.