We all make empty promises to ourselves every New Year’s. We promise to lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, be kinder, the list goes on. We put these empty promises out in the form of resolutions. You can walk into a gym on January 1st through about February 12th and see it with your own eyes. Every piece of equipment will be full, all classes are full and there are faces that you have never seen in a gym before, or the same faces you saw that time last year. Last year I made a resolution, but not on New Year’s. I made it about March, near the time of the anniversary of my collision. I resolved to ride my bike everyday, or at least on the days it was possible. Two years ago, I didn’t stop riding in the bad weather, I would bike and bus as the weather determined.
I hate the cold. Oh man, how I hate the . The first mention of snow, and I am a panicked nut job. I am paranoid about being out in the snow, about being stranded on the bus for hours due to snow and about the insanity of people in 4-wheel drives who think they can drive in anything. Yeah great buddy, you idiot you cannot stop any better than a real wheel drive in this crap. I fear for my life in the cold. Ok you get the point, I am not a cold weather girl. You want to go skiing, great. I will meet you at the lodge, which I will have not left, with a hot toddy or hot tea after you go get cold.
This year, I have taken the bus, without my bike about 5 times. I have gotten rides about 4 times and I have not had my bike a total of about 5 days this year. I am quite proud of this. Somedays I get up and look at my bike, and I hate her. I hate her up until the moment I lock my front door and turn her lights on. The moment I strap on my helmet and take off, I am again in love. You see, for me change is about committment. I made a committment to myself that I was going to bike as many days as possible in the year. I bike to dinner with friends, I biked to sailing lessons, I biked to doctor appointments. I biked whenever I went just about anywhere. The only times I did not bike was when I wanted to wear something that was not bike appropriate. Although in the warmer weather anything can be bike appropriate! There were days when the weather showed, serious downpours, I left my bike home and then hated myself the rest of the day as the sun came out.
My bike is an extension of myself. When I go someplace, the first thing I hear is “Where is your bike?” of “Did you bike here?” You see, it defines who I am. To anyone that truly knows me, I am a cyclist. That means that 99.9% of the time, I have my bike with me. When I do not have my bike, I sometimes feel like I left the apartment without clothes on. It is a strange association.
When I bought my first bike, as an adult, in 2006, I was not looking for more than saving a few bucks on bus fare. What I found over time, was a relationship. A love affair that will span to the end of time. I truly love my bike. I feel so naked without her. My bike changed my life. I know that sounds so crazy, yet so simplistic. Once you determine that you are going to do something and you are truly all heart about it, you do it. Once I invested in my bike, I knew I would ride it, simply because it was a large sum of money for me to invest. I had no idea how ridiculous riding a cruiser would be in Seattle.
She weighs a ton. She only has three gears and there are times that I actually have to get off and push her up a hill. Over the span of 6 years, I have gotten to the point that I push so much less than when I first started. As of last night I made it up the hill home, my first time all the way! I have made the big hill on the other side of my home a few times, but never the smaller one. It always seemed weird to me, but I think it is all a mental block. Sheer determination is sometimes all you need to overcome obstacles.
Change takes not only determination, but also a conscious effort. It takes a meditative quality. To change, you must consciously commit to that change. Secondly you must act on the desire for change. One thing I know for certain is that I love chips. Oh my, I eat the whole bag in one sitting. So to change that I try not to buy any, or buy only a single serve bag. It costs more that way, so I must really want it to guy a single serve portion. That is just one example, another was my despair over putting my bike on the bus because I was being lazy. Ok so now I have a bike that will not fit on the bus. Too bad for me, if I want transit home, I have to ride to a light rail station. The catch here is that, sometimes just biking home is closer and easier than the light rail. So I made provisions in my life to account for some of my shortcomings on my goals and resolutions. I know that going to the gym will not likely be effective, since I bike all the time, I felt I could opt out of the gym.
The biggest change for me this next year is going to be getting back on my local food program and learning to stretch each day. Since my collision, my muscles are so tight. I have a calf that will not stretch much and I think that if I work into it, I may be able to get it back to where it was. I should have been working it since the collision, but pain outgunned my resolve to do so. This year I am going to focus on outgunning the pain. I already beat it by biking almost the whole year. It seems silly to bike and then not stretch those muscles back out afterwards. So onward into the new year I go.