Departing Seattle represents the halfway point of my trip. I have stopped in seven cities and have six cities to go. I have been on the road for thirteen days on this twenty-two day swing. With this leg I am officially beginning to head home.
Yesterday I reflected on the potential benefits of breaking our habits and challenging ourselves to find a new hill to climb. Staying with the bike metaphor — this is 100Pedals afterall — I am going to explore the power of engaging others; especially on our climbs.
I have never been one to enjoy, seek out, or embrace riding with others. Though I always enjoy the adventures associated with exploring a new region with someone who is familiar with it, I rarely seek out riders to join me on my routine rides.
Upon further reflection, I discovered an interesting parallel in having people along with our rides on the bike and in life. Here are some of these parallels:
1. Someone who knows the way: I have learned that there is nothing more valuable than someone who knows the way. Unless I discover a rather obvious and easy path to follow, a guide can be a valuable resource. It is so much easier to enjoy a ride when I am able to trust the experience of someone else to show me the way.
The same can be said of our life resources. The experiences and wisdom of others is an awesome gift, provided we are willing to ask for and heed their advice. If we don’t listen or follow their advice we risk getting lost. Avoiding being lost was the reason we connected with them in the first place.
2. Someone to pass the time with: It is not always safe, easy, or practical to ride alongside someone, especially on many roads. When the opportunity presents itself, I enjoyed riding alongside someone — sharing stories, a laugh or two, or simply making idle conversation. The ride seems to go by much easier when there is a partner riding alongside.
The same is true with the people in our lives. The obstacles, adversities, and challenges in our life are much more manageable when we have someone who joins us on our journey. They can provide advice, be a distraction, or simply be there. It is always better than being alone.
3. Someone to “pull” you along: “Pulling” is the practice of riding at the front. A person who is “taking the pull” is often acting as a buffer to lesson the effort of the person or people behind them. I have ridden in small groups or pairs and have experienced the power of the pull. It is amazing. The miles fly. The pace is swift. The overall effort is lessened. Better yet, people who ride in groups learn to improve their speed through these experiences.
Similarly, there are times in our lives where the burden is simply more than we can handle. It is a wonderful gift to give or receive when a pull is involved. Knowing that someone is there to lighten the load, reduce the resistance, and help you get to the outcome is a blessing. Never underestimate the power of the pull — it can change a life in a matter of moments.
My life has been transformed through my cycling and road trip experiences. I have been truly blessed in having the ability to explore the country, meet new people, get in some interesting rides. The biggest gift is the opportunity to reflect on the lessons of all these experiences and internalize them. The more I learn, the more I grow. The more I grow the more I am prepared to manage what is next presented me. Ride on!