Bike riding is not my favourite activity. (Interestingly, this is starting to change, but for most of my adult life, not my favourite.)
And yet, somehow, a number of years ago I signed up for a 100 km fundraising bike-a-thon.
I did a little bit of training, but definitely not enough. A few days before the 2 day event, I woke up with a sore back. (In hindsight clearly my body saying don’t do this!) The morning of the event, the wind was howling, and our first stretch of the route was through wide open prairies.
As you can imagine, all of these external factors made for a slightly challenging bike ride! Not to mention, some internal factors like unfairly comparing myself to the other riders (who clearly had trained for this).
Throughout the event, a school bus followed all of us riders in case anyone had a flat tire, got injured, or simply needed a break. At the lunch stop half way through the first (and longest) day, I was wiped and perhaps a little emotional as well. With encouragement from others, I reluctantly agreed to get on the bus for the next stretch of the route.
As I sat there – with an elderly gentleman and a young boy as co-passengers – I realized there was no shame in giving myself this chance to pause and reset. I had never done anything like this before, it was incredibly challenging (the wind was not fun for even the ‘experienced’ bikers), and giving myself a break was the only way I was going to be able to continue through to the end. Even more important than finishing, giving myself a break was the only way I was going to be able to enjoy the rest of the process.
When I got off the bus and prepared to begin the last leg of the route for the day, I felt so different than I had just a few hours earlier. I was still wishing the wind would go away, and that I had trained more, and that my back didn’t hurt, but I was able to have a little more compassion for myself. And this translated into less negative internal dialogue (even when the older man and young boy passed me going up the hills). I was able to finish the rest of the day, have energy for the next day, and even enjoy the scenery.
None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t gotten on the bus.
Whether you enjoy biking or not, are there times where you are not allowing yourself to get on the bus? Is it maybe time to get on the bus? What could shift for you if you did allow yourself to get on the bus, to pause and reset, just for a little while? Especially as the winds of COVID-19 continue to howl?