Thursday, August 31, 2017

Getting a Flat Tire

I hate it when I get a flat tire. It hinders my forward progress, immensely! But, it happens to the best of us and it’s part of owning a vehicle, bike or even a body! Sometimes, you just have to sit on the sidelines and relax until you get the chance to change your tire (or, maybe you are waiting on Roadside Assistance to come out and do it for you). When you think about it though, sitting out for a bit isn’t the worst idea. You can evaluate how far you’ve already come and you can ponder what lies ahead. The thing is, you don’t want to sit out too long, because it might affect your desire to keep going.

I understand this loss of desire better than you’d think. About a year and a half ago, I got a flat and rather than fix the issue and get back on the road, I just languished in the emergency lane and watched others keep driving right by me. Once that happens, the vicious cycle (not the kind of cycle I want to be riding, by the way) just kept dragging me further and further away from my goal. And I was OK with that. I shouldn’t have been, but I was.

Finally, I decided to get out of the emergency lane and fix the flat and get back on the road. I also learned that when you see someone stopped along the side of the road, they may not be ready for you to offer assistance. Until they come to their own decisions to get moving again, there isn’t much you can do, except try to keep them in your rearview mirror and keep an eye on them. One day, they will catch back up with you and you can merge into traffic and be on your way ­– together.

If you get a flat and don’t get right back on the road, it’s OK. Just make a promise to yourself to never give up. If you’ve gone 1 mile or 1000 miles, you’ve already made progress, never lose sight of that important fact.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Should I Pedal Faster?

Well, the answer to that question is “it depends”. Pedaling is situational. Finding the right pedaling speed (cyclists call it a “cadence”) for the terrain is important, making sure you aren’t wasting energy, when you should be conserving it. Just like on this long strange trip I’ve been on for the last several years, if I’m doing something that is sapping my energy rather than increasing it, then I need to shift gears and correct my cadence.

That’s where I am now. I’ve shifted gears, but learning to correct the bad habits that have slipped back into my life will take some time to undo. As I’ve said all along, it’s ok. It is imperative that I listen to my body (although, now that I’m getting older, it seems to complain so much more than it used to!) and make sure that when it is telling me that I’m doing something wrong, I trust that my behavior needs to change.

Shifting gears, shifting mindset. It’s pretty much the same thing. One of the most important keys to having success while trying to accomplish a large-scale dream is continuing to make the adjustments as you go along. The steps you take at the beginning will not be the same as the ones you take in the middle or at the end. Your gears will shift and your cadence will adjust.

I’ve shifted my gears and now I’m working on finding the correct cadence for this terrain. Things will change again and I’ll make more adjustments when that happens. I know now that it’s OK – encouraged actually – to change things up and not stay the course. Dare to be different, as they say.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Changing Vehicles

I know, I know. Just the other day, I said I would change things up from car analogies. To be fair, the blog IS called Road Trip. Also, as I was out riding my bike the other day, and it dawned on me. Just because you’re on a road trip, doesn’t necessarily mean you are in a car. So, with that in mind and my recent re-dedication to this journey, I’ve decided to tackle this from a cycling perspective, at least for a while. If you think about it, the change makes a lot of sense. It takes longer to get somewhere on a bike than in a car. But, you get to see more things along the way and you have more fun when traveling in a pack, with your friends.

Restarting, starting over, rededicating yourself. These are all terms that sound like you failed at something and are making another attempt. It’s not the case. There’s only one way to fail, and that’s to never start. Well, there is one other way to fail: to always compare yourself to what others are doing. Don’t feel like you have to live up to someone else’s expectations or accomplishments. Rather than letting the competition get the best of you, gather your friends to join you on a nice bike ride. It’s a good way to ensure you are surrounded by a supportive group of people. Life is challenging enough. There’s no reason to go it alone. If, for some reason, you find yourself on a solo bike ride, find others who are looking will welcome you to their pack.  One thing that I’ve learned is there will always be slower riders and speed demons, no matter the vehicle. I’ve got to find a pace that I can manage and start there. If I surround myself with others who are successful, then I can only improve.

I’m excited to look at the road from a different angle and speed now. Come along for the ride! It’ll be fun!