It's true I rode a bicycle to move past a long and lonely three-year divorce. In so many ways, it was a tough ride. On some days, it was pure escape. But on the seat of that bike, I learned a lot of lessons.
Breaking those down, this week I'll post four reasons why you might want to start riding yourself. You can benefit your life in many ways by riding a real "metal" bike of your own. If you're open to it, it will lead you to the "mental" one.
Here's Reason #1--It's both a physical and mental challenge
If it's been a while since you've ridden, or if you haven't ridden a bike since you were a child, especially if you're out of shape, just considering riding a bike can be a frightening move to make.
No matter if you choose a mountain bike, a road bike, or a hybrid of some sort, once you accept the challenge, you'll gain a new respect for yourself. That's because it will take discipline and focus to ride daily. It will take time out of your schedule. You may have to juggle a few things around to fit your rides into the day.
When I first pulled my old bike out of the garage, I consciously committed myself to daily rides. They took me places where I never thought I could go. That's the benefit of a challenge; it tests what you can handle.
I started out with very short rides but soon worked my way up to very long ones. I went from being able to ride just one mile to as many as 20. I also wasn't very strong physically in the beginning--and I was overweight. I wasn't sure I could push myself up over those hills ahead. When I saw them at first, I wanted to turn back. I didn't want to confront what I saw then as a difficulty. But I paced myself. And soon, I was riding right past those hills, just waiting for the next one, ready to stand up and push harder if need be.
I didn't feel very good about myself in the beginning, either. My husband had just left me for another woman. I wasn't sure I was good enough, pretty enough, smart enough. I was at my lowest low. But the bike helped me turn that attitude around. I lost weight. I gained physical strength. And I felt better about who I really was on the inside.
It was symbolic to what I was going through in my divorce. The truths, the confrontations, the legal paperwork. It was all very daunting, and I didn't want to face any of it. Just as I had on my bike, I had to figure out a way to pace myself.
I had to learn what tools I'd need to keep moving forward. On the bike, I needed a pump to keep going, and a few other tools as well. For the divorce, I needed a lawyer, and a financial advisor. I also had to learn how to keep myself operating at my best. Just as my bike required tune-ups and regular maintenance, I needed to see my therapist once a week to keep going.
The parallels helped me see a strength in my character that I had forgotten I had. That's what taking on a new challenge can do for you. It can prove to you that you can do it, that you can push past the struggles, that you can move forward, especially when you think you can't. And then you'll begin to notice that you can. The word "can't" won't even enter your consciousness any longer--other than to realize you aren't even thinking that way any more. That's such a eye opener!
And it's good reason to ride a bike.
No matter what, we'll all be tested at some point or another in our lives. Riding a bike will help you see that you can meet the challenge, that you can handle it, and that the outcome will be whatever you need it to be--or close enough to hold your head up high. That's called self-respect.
Isn't that a good reason to ride a bike?