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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Lessons from a Beach Cruiser

You can learn a lot while riding a bike.

Never ride while wearing slippery sandals.  Although I have on occasion ridden in heels, and I frequently ride while wearing a dress, I've found that the slippery sandals don't work so well.  Especially if I'm wearing a dress.  You just can't look cool when your feet slip off the pedal mid-stride.

I've learned that riding on sidewalks on trash day can be a challenge.

That there are a lot of suicidal lizards in California.  I'm convinced that they time their run in front of me with precision, determined to have my front tire be the last thing they see in this life.

I've learned that if I brace myself with my leg muscles as I come upon a dip or hill, I will not only ride more gracefully, but I will give my thighs a little impromptu work-out.

But, there are deeper lessons to be learned while riding a bike, and I find that they are really good object lessons for life.

Like, when I am approaching an obstacle in my path like a telephone pole, mail box, broken glass, or apple core, it is really important that I fight my desire to look at it straight on.  Because if I do, I will inevitably lose my balance, I'll be more likely to steer into it, and things could be messy.  Especially if I'm wearing a dress.

What I need to do is keep my eye on the road before me, toward my destination, while looking ahead  for obstacles that could cause me to crash.  And when such a thing approaches, I need to keep my eyes up and beyond it, rather than at it as I try to pass.  My brain locks into my destination, and it somehow knows to steer away, and I never lose my balance.

It makes me think about life.  When there is something in front of me that could present itself as a potential problem, or even if there is a problem, if all I do is focus on the issue, I'll lose my balance and crash.  If I keep my focus on things like a health scare, financial loss, or insecurity at work, the crash will be inevitable.  It will look like depression, fear, or anxiety.  It will keep me from moving forward, and it will surely send me to the ground, and into a pit.

Rather than letting the issue(s) sideline me, if I look ahead, beyond the obstacle, I will see my destination in the distance.  I'll have my balance.  Hope.  The happy ending.  Proper perspective.  I'll be able to pass by the obstacle, leaving it in the path behind me as I pedal forward, so to speak.

Now, if while riding my bike I come upon, say, fish line, I would want to stop and carefully ride through it.  Maybe even get off my bike and walk through it.  Something like that can't be ignored, and if I try to ignore it, or just project my eyes forward, the line will get tangled up in my tires and I will end up losing my balance and falling later, down the road.

This would be like all those times that I've not wanted to deal with unavoidable things that ended up on my path. Sometimes the objects were placed in my path by someone else.  Sometimes I got off the right path and rode right into it.  Either way, when an entangling issue is before me, I absolutely have to give it some time and either meticulously work myself around it, or I have to stop and do the work of cleaning the issue up.  Because if I try and ignore it, the chances of a fall will be pretty likely.

The feeling of riding freely, as I speed past things that could be scary if I let them be, is exhilarating.  Passing them by as I ride toward my destination is liberating, and free.

And doing this with my bike is cool, too.

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