Never say never
I don’t mean to turn a blog about cycling into some self-help site filled with motivational crap – that kind of thing makes me cringe – but sometimes what begins as an idle thought floating about my head gathers pace and grows into something I want to get down on paper, or more accurately, on a screen. I’m the kind of person who can’t get a moment’s peace for thinking and I suppose sometimes writing gives me closure on a topic I’ve been obsessing over.
So recently I’ve been musing on how my life has changed since I became obsessed with cycling – what have those many hours on the bike have given me, apart from a great deal of pleasure, a career and bigger legs?
Those hours have given me a lot and I worship my bicycles accordingly, but one thing that seems to be really relevant to where I am at the moment is this: bikes have finally taught me to ‘never say never,’ and in doing so, cycling has taught me to leave the door open to the myriad opportunities, possibilities and differing paths my life could take.
It’s taken a pretty funny cycling journey to reach this conclusion, with plenty of mistakes along the way. It began when I rode fixed gear and I was adamant I’d absolutely never wear lycra. I was also sure I’d never race as I’d always been more into the ‘freestyle’ or expressive side of things rather than athletics. I now dabble in racing and I’m frequently found prancing about in lycra, in fact I own way more bib-shorts and jerseys than I do ‘regular’ clothes.
Anyway, after I got into fixed gear, I bought a BMX and immediately removed the pegs and gave them away, as ‘I’d never be able to do a grind.’ A few months later I had to buy some pegs after I actually tried a grind on my friend’s bike and rode it out first time. I also thought I’d never hit a dirt jump with a gap in it or air out of a quarter.
See where I’m going with this?
So next up, lesson totally not learnt, I started riding mountain bikes, heading out on some of the cross country trails around Devon. Of course I thought I’d never ride Downhill, never get a full susser and was extremely sure that I couldn’t do drops or ride anything steep. Even when I got a full susser and started riding enduro style tracks, I thought I’d forever be going around the jumps, taking the ‘chicken line.’ And again, I thought I’d never race.
Of course I was wrong, so have I learnt my lesson? Well yes, I finally have, and it’s really helped! The other day, I was out riding with my husband and we came to a really scary drop off, and instead of getting all freaked out and thinking I’d never be able to do it and getting all wound up about it, I just thought ‘hmm, I might do that when I feel like it.’ In changing my thinking, I left open the possibility that I might actually do the scary drop, so I didn’t have to contend with the enormous pressure I sometimes place on myself.
And after a couple of runs, I just felt like it, and off I went.
So it made me think, it’s so important to allow things to happen and to be open to the possibility. Don’t be so sure that you can’t. And most importantly, it’s taught me not to try and predict the future but to let it do it’s thing, so I’ve retired my crystal ball as the future can, and will take care of itself. So never say never, that’s what I reckon.