This past winter, I got a new job and the painful commute that gave birth to this blog was no longer. The bike that had offered me a reprieve from the hectic workday suddenly seemed distant. While I have ridden through many winters past, not having the work commute was completely demotivating.
In the dark days of winter, I found it difficult to ride. The cat curled up at my feet on the couch did not help. Winter riding has so many challenges, such as darkness, cold, and rain. And, so much more gear is required, such as lights, puffy coat, and rain cape. The thought of strapping on all of that gear and braving the elements was overwhelming. It was much easier to hail Lyft or just post up and binge the latest season of Friends from College on Netflix.
Without my bike commute, I couldn’t figure out how to take care of my mind, body, and soul. I tried out other exercise routines that might accompany my new life: Barre, yoga, running, urban-hiking, planking, headstands, cartwheels, swimming, Krav Maga...but none of them stuck.
While between jobs I had big dreams of writing, finding a new exercise routine, and finishing about a dozen home projects. This turned into daily dining with wine, catching up with friends, and decking out my home office. Since my term of unemployment did not go as planned, I felt guilty for not meeting my exercise and writing goals. Even though I was refreshed and ready for my next venture, I was ashamed that I did not bring an exercise routine into my new life.
Shame is an insidious beast, a paradox of failure fueled by my inner narrative. I’m not writing because I’m ashamed that I’m not biking. This blog is about bikes, how can I give advice on bikes when I’m not even riding? That’s so hypocritical. I was completely defeated by the winter elements and shame of my own making.
I don’t write because I don’t ride, I don’t ride because I don’t ride...but that’s okay. That’s okay because today is a new day. While my unmet expectations is a fact that I cannot change, shame is a monster that only exists in my mind. And what do I have to be ashamed of? Really. Not riding a bike? For posing as an avid cyclist when I can’t even get through a Seattle winter? Now that I see it on the page it sounds silly. It’s just a bike, this is just a blog, so just write. Forgive, remember, and ride.
While I wish this story was about how I overcame my shame, hopped on a bike in the dead of winter and lived to blog about how I crushed Seattle’s snowmageddon with a used reasonably priced fat-bike and fashionable wool ear warmers, I did not. As you read this you know that spring has sprung. The spring has ultimately eased me back onto the bike and I’m happy to be back!
While I do not ride as much as I would like, this transition has reinforced the lesson that life is a continuous effort. I have overcome some tough obstacles and I have things figured out enough to offer advice. I've even taken being an urban cyclist as part of my identity. Yet, I still must try, try, try and try again. And now that I have tried out so many exercise options I can diversify my health routine.
What are your obstacles?