Monday, May 19, 2014

After all, tomorrow is another day. (Scarlett O’Hara, Gone with the Wind)

If you live an average life, it is a statistical reality that some weeks will be bad. Things go wrong. Problems come up that you can't solve. Things happen that you can't control.

You need a way to cope. Us? We ride our bikes.

First, there is the calming ritual of getting ready for a long ride. Decide on a destination. Check the tires. Fill water bottles. Pack snacks. Apply sunscreen. Put on riding clothes. Grab your helmet. Roll the bikes to the street. Warm up at a gentle pace for a mile or so.

Then you up the speed and get into the ride.

In the beginning your mind slides to the problems of the day. You ride a while. The routine of scanning traffic, checking your mirror, shifting gears, and monitoring your exertion slowly consumes your attention. Problems and worries are pushed into a back corner of the mind. Soon you find yourself lost in the rhythm of riding. Muscles tight from unproductive tension begin to move smoothly. You shift your weight as you corner, again as you accelerate. You feel your muscles work, your heart rate increase, your breathing become deeper. You feel sweat on your skin and wind in your face.

Somewhere miles into the ride, you feel as if your bicycle is simply an extension of you. Your body and mind shift into overdrive. You cruise along at a pace you can sustain for miles and miles, hours and hours. Your mind is fully occupied with the wondrous exertion of the ride.

Arriving home, there are the post-ride rituals. Showering. Enjoying the post-ride glass of milk and bit of dark chocolate. Cleaning bikes and gear. Washing ride clothes. Taking a nap.

And your problems? No worries now.

After all, tomorrow is another day.