I still remember the first time I flipped through a magazine at the thrift store and saw an ad for a bicycle ride across America as a fund raiser. It started a dream in my mind. From that moment, I knew I would someday do just that...bike across America. I hadn't biked in years. The bike I owned was a cheap Huffy 10 speed from the 80's. It fit when I was 9 inches shorter. I mentioned to a friend of mine who was a biker that I wanted to start riding and he said, "The harder you pedal, the faster you'll be." I dusted off my old bike and took it out for a spin. The first few minutes were easy but as the ride stretched out (I'm talking more than 5 minutes), I could feel my legs not being happy with me so I chanted his words to me over and over in my mind the whole 5 miles. I was dead when I got home. I was entirely out of shape! But I was not deterred. I wanted it more than before. I joined a gym and worked out 5-+6 times a week for 3 months straight. Then I decided I was ready to try a bike ride again. It was so much easier than the time before. I have never looked back.
Biking has helped me to set goals and to work toward them like when I wanted to do a century (a 100 mile ride in one day). I worked on my mileage and endurance, slowly building up until I could do. It taught me to take one step (or pedal stroke) at a time like when I encountered a hill so steep that I didn't dare stop pedaling because I knew that I would start rolling backward before I even had a chance to set my foot down ...and I made it to the top without stopping! It taught me that sometimes dreams can take a long time to come true but that doesn't mean you should give up...because the journey to it is just as wonderful as what you hope will happen once you reach your goal. But aside from what it has taught me, it has helped me in many ways. It's been my therapy when I was going through dark times. It has helped heal one of my knee disorders. It has given me freedom. It has helped me develop a sense of healthy self-esteem. It has taught me to take the highs with the lows (though I sometimes do much better than others). It has taught me that I need to back in the saddle when I fall.
On one particular ride, I was feeling so good. I was feeling on the top of the world. I stopped and took this picture.
Less than 10 minutes later, I was in an accident that gave me 4 wounds that had to be cleaned out at the ER and took months to heal from (this is from 3 months later).
I haven't reached my dream of crossing the country by bike. I have no idea if it will ever happen. But that doesn't matter. What matters is that I am enjoying the time I do get to spend on my bike and I savor the times I get to go touring. I am learning to have joy in the journey regardless of how it turns out.