Last year, when the explosion of my personal life was in full effect, one of the things that kept me sane was being able to jump on my bike and head off in some random direction. Experiencing the road under my wheels as my heart pumped and my legs whirred made me feel purposeful and alive…as though I was headed somewhere rather than wallowing in the sad shrapnel of a broken heart.
I bought a used bike in the summer of 2011. It was a bit scraped up and rusty, but it was a promise to myself that I would do something active. A few rides on the bike path or around the neighborhood were pretty much the extent of my foray into cycling that year, but it was a start. By the end of the summer, my life had been turned upside down and – honestly – my future seemed pretty empty and uncertain. I was headed, most definitely, into a winter of discontent.
The glorious thing about winter, however, is that spring eventually comes.
As the sun began to shine and my mind began to awaken from its cloud of hurt I began to look at that old silver bike in my garage and tell myself that I should be on it. That I should be heading somewhere.
Living…moving…being: They can be easier said than done.
With more of a sense of duty than excitement, I wheeled the bike out, climbed aboard, and began the business of being. Day after day, mile after mile, the duty dropped aside and the passion began to build. I wanted to go farther, faster…to see more roads and more hills.
My old bike was replaced by a newer, lighter used bike and the miles came easier. My 10-mile rides became 15…then 20…then 30…then, once, 40 miles. I saw a change in my frame of mind, my heart, and my body. I felt more deeply what it was to be alive…to move…to be.
This time, however, it was only a literal winter and not one of the soul. I waited for calm days and continued to venture out. Shorter rides in bitter cold, but rides nonetheless. In a conversation with a friend from miles away, I began to lay out a system of goals for myself for the year ahead. Goals of fitness and goals of distance.
My longest ride of 2013 as I began this post was the one shown in the photo: 18 miles. Since then, I’ve done a 23 mile ride which puts me ahead of my January 31 goal of 20 miles. My next goal is 25 miles with the ultimate goal of a 100 mile ride in October. That seems pretty much impossible at the moment, but I would rather foolishly try than pragmatically fail.
Proverbs 29:18 in the King James Version says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” I realize that I am playing loose with the meaning of that passage when I apply it here, but I think the idea is sound. If I don’t set goals, I miss so many opportunities to realize success.
So, my goal is to live…to move…and to be a person of purpose.
And a person who can pedal 100 miles and live to tell about it.