Thursday, November 8, 2007

pedaling through life

I did a 14 mile ride this morning. it's a regular weekly ride. I met up with a friend who lives near me and we rode about a mile over to a local coffee house. There we met about a dozen other riders and then set out on a 12 mile loop that takes us around and into Griffith Park and then up from the valley side, over the crest of the hill and then down the Hollywood side, past the Griffith observatory and the Greek theater, and back to the coffee house for a coffee and croissant before cycling home.

Although I've been a cyclist for over four years now I'm still learning new things. Today I concentrated on two cycling skills I already knew were good techniques but haven't been consciouly putting into place. One is to try and pedal at a constant revolution per minute, using the gears to accomodate for the change in terrain but always pedaling at the same speed, and in particular avoiding coasting. It's easier on the body to get set into a constant rhythm rather than starting and stopping all the time. The other skill I'm working on is trying to spend more time in lower gears. It's a common mistake of new riders to use higher gears which gives both a satisfying sense of pushing (which is actually wearing you out) and the speed that comes from a little push translating into a lot of forward motion. But a bike is actually designed to be very efficient. Staying in lower gears and "spinning" the pedals allows you to save your energy for when you really need it, and not tire yourself out early on a long ride.

Life is the same way. The key is not to wear yourself out inventing stressful situations just for the excitement of the drama and the satisfaction of seeing how much anxiety you can take. Neither when times are easy should we lay off engagement with life. Don't coast, keep pedaling, but don't pedal harder than you need to.

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