What Cycling Has Taught Me

I’ve been cycling, for exercise and fun, for most of my life. I’ve enjoyed mountain biking and road cycling during that time. I have found that there are many life lessons that can be derived from cycling. 

The first of which is “hard work leads to reward and success”.  I’ve discovered that with almost every hill that I climb on my bike, I am rewarded with a “fun” descent, and with every hill that I climb, I get a little bit stronger for the next one.

Another good one is working as a team makes things easier and you accomplish a lot more”. Sometimes when I ride with a group, each rider will take a turn at the front of a single file line. This is known as “pulling” and the subsequent riders, behind the guy in front, are “drafting” the rider in front of them. When drafting another cyclist your power requirement for maintaining the same speed is cut by up to 30 percent, thus allowing for less effort to maintain a higher speed. A group of riders using this method, which is known as a “paceline”, can go much faster for a longer period of time than a cyclist riding alone.

One of my favorites is “you always got something left in the tank; never give up”. Sometimes when I get close to the top of a long climb or the end of a long ride, my legs are incredibly tired and I don’t seem to have any energy left. What I’ve come to realize is that you always have a little more left in the tank than you think. Just push yourself and you’ll be surprised at what you might have left. 

And, another one is “it’s the journey, not the destination”. I’ve discovered that, when riding to a “destination”, it’s more about the “journey” rather than arriving at the destination. The beauty of my surroundings, little stops along the way, and awesome conversations with the people that you’re with.

And my favorite “Life Lesson” that parallels cycling is “cycling is like sex; when it’s great, it’s great; when it’s bad, it’s still great”. Sometimes when I ride my bike, I’ll get a flat tire or it will begin to rain midway through my ride or I just feel like Crap. All that doesn’t really matter. I’m still on my bike, flying down the hills, spending time with friends and I’m getting a good workout in while enjoying the fresh air.

Obviously, cycling, like many sports, is just a metaphor for life. If you work hard, in life, you will generally reap the benefits financially and professionally. Working as a team will always be more efficient and beneficial than working alone. Never give up on your goals and dreams, no matter how hard the effort becomes. The extra effort will make the accomplishment even more satisfying. And obviously, the journey through life, rather than the end game, is the most important thing to remember. Take time to enjoy the little things, spend quality time with friends and family, travel to places that you’ve always wanted to see, and don’t spend one more day at a job that you hate or a person that you’re not compatible with. And, of course, buy a bike and go for an AWESOME ride!!

By Mike C


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