Flagstaff on assignment, pushing myself on a portion of Arizona's longest ride -- more than 800 miles. The trail runs the full length of the state, from the Mexican border to the south all the way up to the northern border at Utah. Maybe some day I'll ride the entire stretch, but on this day I spent about two hours on ten miles of single track. Up and down, over rocks, through narrow, sandy terrain. A fun ride if you're up for the challenge. By bike enthusiast standards, this one's actually a meager challenge. But it works for me. If I could spend more time on trails like this one, I would. I don't need to be too challenged. I know my limits. That's another part of the BIKE mentality -- know your limits.
About this time, I imagine my fellow blogathoners are considering that mentality. With 250 (or more) participants this year (I posted a link to all of us below the participant badge on the right-hand side of the page if you're curious), messages streaming like running water on the email listserv (no, I can't keep up), and the need to post updates to all of the social networks so you can let everyone know you're blogging all 31 days this month -- and with my decision to talk BIKE all month long -- I just learned via a press release that May is National Bike Month. A little serendipity, don't you think? Definitely! It means I have even better reason to push my limits to the max, hammering my brand of BIKE into your heads.
My mental BIKE means a lot to me. It's what gets me over those tough spots on the trail. It's what helps me deal with the daily rejection that editors slip into my email box when I'm not looking. Silly editors. It's what reminds me that I can do this, whatever "this" might be at any given moment: give a presentation to a new audience, for example, or write a story for a new editor, or conduct an interview with a stranger.
For me, riding the bike (either on the trail or in my head, as I reflect on the power of the letters in the metaphor) is a lifestyle choice. Just like National Bike Month is about bringing attention to the benefits of the ride, so, too, does my blog. The only difference is whether you choose the physical ride or the mental one. I choose both.
So how about celebrating National Bike Month with me? Here are a few things you can do:
_Take a ride. If you don't have a bike, you can always rent one.
_Write a blog post about the time you first learned how to ride.
_Share a ride with friend on a tandem bike. You can rent those, too!
_Post a picture of a bike you'd like to own on you blog and tell your readers why.
_Think about the benefits of a bike ride. It's not just physical.
_Talk to your kids about bike safety, and make sure they wear their helmets.
_Find a new trail or a new route to take on your next ride.
_Ride bikes with your kids to school one day this month.
_Can't find the solution to a problem at work, take a solo ride and see what happens.
_Go shopping for a bike. You don't have to buy. Just check out the options.
_Start noticing bike imagery -- on greeting cards, journals, in art.
The thing I love about bikes is that they represent positivity. They take you back to childhood, to carefree times. They give you sense of freedom. They provide inexpensive transportation. Even if you get a flat tire while riding one, that's a positive thing -- it offers a chance for you to witness how you deal with an irritating challenge. I connect to bikes in a way I never expected, and that's worth celebrating.
What's one positive thing you can say about bikes? Post your comment here.