Posted by: joha5 | May 16, 2010

Biking Bravery: Expelling Personal Demons

It is really nice when you realize that you still have the ability to surprise yourself and do something that is typically out of character and outside of your normal routine.  And by going on a 5 mile bikeride yesterday I did just that.  Now I haven’t actually been on a bicycle in anywhere from 2-4 years so I was anxious.  I was anxious I would fall and embarrass myself.  I was anxious that I would be out of shape – or breath! – and I was anxious that I would somehow find a way to fall into the middle of traffic on the George Washington Parkway and kill myself. 

Thank God my anxiety was completely unwarranted.  I mounted the bike and I felt sturdy, I felt confident, and the physical memory of riding a bike flooded my senses within a couple of seconds.  Maybe it was the fact that the weather was perfect for a bikeride, maybe it was the warm spring breeze passing over my face as I rode, or maybe it was the great conversations that I had with my friend’s as we casually rode along the Potomac River.  Whatever it was, I was pleasantly surprised – even shocked – at how quickly I had fallen in love with riding a bike again.

The Mount Vernon Bike Trail

I used to ride my bike a lot when I was 12 or 13 or so but eventually began to fall out of love with it after a series of accidents destroyed my confidence.  I don’t remember when exactly it was I stopped riding but I seem to recall it happening very quickly and very unceremoniously.  I still have the scars on my knees, my elbows, and my head from consistently having my body thrown to the asphalt in Washington, D.C. those 15 years ago.  This did not go unremembered as I began yesterday’s ride.  Perhaps recklessly, it actually served as a catalyst for me to get on that damn bike and tear up the trails like I used to.  It made me want to confront the demons that have been swimming around in my head for all of those years and regain my confidence and my zeal for biking. 

The 5 miles came and went in a blink of an eye and I was genuinely ready to do the trail all over again.  Now I know that 5 miles is next to nothing for bike enthusiasts and that it actually barely even counts as a workout for most people.  That wasn’t what the bike ride was about for me yesterday.  The bike ride was about recapturing something that I had lost in my youth and it was about pushing myself in a manner that I haven’t done in 15 years.  To my surprise, it actually worked.  I will never be a professional bicyclist and I am not going to rush out and buy a $2,000 bike and buy a slew of biking accessories or anything like that.  But what I will do is go into my garage, dust off my old bike, don a helmet, and I will hit the road.  Only this time it will be done in a measured and thought out manner that is more representative of a 28 year old man rather than the reckless abandon of a 13 year old boy.  And I like it that way so much more. 

Here goes nothing!!



  1. I absolutely can’t ride a bike. I have not sense of balance. But your post does inspire me to do something out of character one day soon 🙂

    • It is just so refreshing to wake up and do something totally different for once. I mean, I can barely cook so I could have gotten the same feeling from standing in the kitchen and preparing an amazing meal. Maybe that will be my next endeavor! But it does feel undeniably good to step outside of the box every once in a while and I hope you go and do it too!!

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