They say that once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget. I can tell you that’s only partly correct! Yes, my body remembers the basic mechanics. But on a recent bike ride with a friend, we both quickly realized how much we had forgotten about bike riding. I also gained a new appreciation for an “old” skill and the little lessons I could still learn.
- Appreciating steadiness – I remember as a kid riding with a pack of friends, getting to our destination and immediately hopping off my bike, without a single thought to any of the mechanics. Maybe that feeling of ease will come back to me at some point, but until then I am very aware of the fact that I have to create steadiness on a bike. My balance isn’t what it used to be. Even subtle gestures like lifting my fingers to thank drivers who stopped to let us pass felt like drastic movements that could knock me on my ass! It made me appreciate the other things in life that now come with ease and that I often take for granted.
- Shifting gears – Neither one of us could remember how to shift gears so we stuck with what we had. My friend’s ride ended up being a more physical struggle, while I barely had to pedal. I felt a little guilty about how hard her ride was compared to my own. As much as I would have liked to ride farther, it was easy to pivot plans after she had enough riding for the day. Like shifting gears, shifting our expectations can make our experiences with others more enjoyable for everyone.
- Sharing the trail with others – The trail we took is fairly busy since it connects two major cities in our area. Whenever we had to pass people or others passed us, our lane was narrowed for a moment. It was another test of our balance as we tried not to run off the trail. Rather than letting that spoil my mood though, I recognized those little moments of unsteadiness passed more quickly than the people on the trail. When I’m not focused on myself, it’s much easier to be present, let the little things pass, and enjoy the moment.
- Feeling like a kid – Just the idea of getting together with a friend and getting outside was so exciting, that I jumped at the chance. I forgot to consider that I hadn’t been on a bike in over a year and had no idea how to use my gears. Once I got the hang of riding and the nervousness dissipated, I was able to enjoy the ride. The sun was out, the trail was beautiful and the feeling of freedom reminded me how much I used to enjoy riding as a kid. Like many adults, I often put aside recreational activities, telling myself that responsibilities always come before play. The rejuvenation I felt after this short ride told me that giving myself time to relax, move, enjoy nature, and spend time with friends IS a responsibility. It’s a responsibility because it nourishes my soul, allowing me to be more present and joyful with others.
Luckily, we didn’t have any accidents and ended up safely where we started. More importantly, we had so much fun that we decided to schedule play dates more often. And yes, I said “play dates” because what better way is there to create joy than bringing a little play into your life?