A few weekends ago I led a bike ride for the local club. When I signed up for it I had visions of cool, crisp autumn air and leaves turning Technicolor. What I got was an unseasonable hot October Saturday complete with morning fog you couldn’t even cut with a chef’s grade knife. I mean the kind of fog that makes you wonder what is 15 feet in front of you. Being the intrepid cyclists we are (my partner could write a book on what she considers a major brain defect in most cyclists), we set out on our Cannondales, Treks, and hand built carbon fiber machines into the morning.
I am one for being safe and cautious but not paralyzed with concern, yet I had to wonder since I almost got creamed by a car on the drive to the start location. As we pedaled along unable to see squat with our glasses fogging to the point of being opaque I had to wonder about my sanity this morning. However, since 3 other folks showed up for the ride, I figure it wasn’t just me going batty. As we carried on I got to thinking of how perfect a life lesson could be gleaned from this ride in the thick fog. It was a whole new exciting experience on the bike. Here’s what came to me.
When you’re cycling with little sight distance, all you can do is focus on the here and now. Keep pedaling, keep your eyes and ears peeled as much as possible for hazards and traffic and then go on faith. Know that you’ve done all you can to be safe — bright clothing, blinking lights, and choosing less traveled or roads with good shoulders. Then, let go. There is a lot of unknown when you can’t see exactly where you’re going. Yet, on this ride I knew the route by heart. I can tell you every bump and grate there is. It is embedded within me. I’m finding life is a lot like that – you don’t ever really know what’s up ahead. All you can do is plot a path that is in alignment with what is inside you and then go.
I also learned there can be a lot of fun in doing something familiar but in a whole new way. Beginner’s Mind rules once again. Because we couldn’t really see all that well, I saw things I never saw before. Things right up close and personal that normally I would’ve missed as I looked out in the distance at the view. It is good to change your perspective especially on the familiar.
Good people make even the most ridiculous circumstances more bearable and more fun. While I only knew one of the guys who showed up for the ride (he is a long time biking buddy of mine), the other two guys were equally open to just enjoying the ride for what it was. Everyone was willing to laugh at the silliness of it all — after all we couldn’t see and our clothes were stuck to us like spandex swimsuits because it was so humid it had the illusion of rain.
Last but not least, nothing lasts forever. If you’re having a rough time, it won’t last. If you’re on top of the world, go with gratitude and know it may ebb and flow. In our case, by the time we hit the break 1:15 and 20 miles later, the sun was shining and the skies were clear. What a splendid ride.