Keep Pedaling

Saturday morning and off I went for an early morning bike ride. Adorned in my MAMIL (middle aged man in lycra) gear, I clipped into my SPD pedals and set off.

Keep pedalling

A steady paced cycle out to Radford Semele, pedalling constantly with a good cadence before a long steady climb into the village – changing gears to keep the cadence going, breathing becoming more laboured and heart rate rising.

After another climb out of the village, reaching the peak of the hill provided the opportunity for a free wheel cruise down the other side towards the Fosse Way. Time to get my breath back and slow down the heart rate.

Going round the roundabout at the bottom of the hill onto the Fosse Way took me into a strong headwind, like I needed that! By now my legs were starting to protest; having done a heavy kick based martial arts session on Thursday night and lower body HIIT at bootcamp on Friday evening. The wind so strong at times I was barely moving.

After a couple of miles, it came as a big relief to be turning into a lane that ultimately led me home. However, it was not without its own challenges. A cheeky little steep climb about halfway back which you can see coming for quite a while. Keeping my pedals moving and using the gears, I slowly climbed the hill; heart and lungs pumping & thighs burning by now. As I climbed it I kept thinking to myself “just keep pedalling Rob, you’ll soon be over the worst and it is a steady ride home”; which, indeed, it was.
It was a little later as I was driving that the thought of this ride, or any other ride, as a metaphor for life came to me.

  • At times we are moving along steadily and making progress
  • At times we come up against challenges (the hills) and have to dig in and work hard to overcome them
  • At times we come up against the headwinds, where we have to summon up as much strength and resolve as possible to just keep going
  • At other times we have the opportunity to free wheel, we cruise along with little or no effort and can sit up and enjoy the view
  • And then there are the times when you feel like getting off and throwing your bike in the hedge and saying “F*ck this sh*t”

It was as I had the realisation of the final point that it dawned on me that was exactly what I did metaphorically a couple of months ago. After pedaling hard for much of last year doing all the stuff that many of the experts/gurus extol, I got to a point where I wasn’t seeing the results I was ‘expecting’ and to add to that my business took a downturn AND more telling was that I was not feeling congruent with what I was doing & lacking drive. At that point I got off ‘my bike’, threw it in the hedge and sat contemplating my naval.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think there is value in stopping, stepping back and assessing where you are at & where you are going at times but this wasn’t one of those types of moments. This was one of those times when I had had a gut full and was closed out to constructive thinking and assessment.
This has been a great insight for me and reinforces a pattern that someone close pointed out to me the other day, a pattern (metaprogram) of ‘all or nothing’. For much of last year I was doing everything (giving it my all) and then almost overnight I just stopped and did nothing.
Armed now with this heightened awareness of this pattern, I can choose different responses and change the pattern. I can choose, when I hit a headwind or hill, to perhaps have a quick stop and a get my breath back and then get back on my bike and get pedalling again. Otherwise I am not going to make the journey and get to my intended destination.
I am grateful for the space I had this morning that allowed this metaphor to develop and the learning it has opened up to me. I’m also grateful to my coach, my peer coaches and my family and friends for being there to help & support me to drag my bike out of the hedge and get back into the saddle smile emoticon
When things are not going as you’d expected or wanted what do you? Who might help you to stay on ‘your bike’ and keep going?