Saturday, April 4, 2009


how to prepare for a bike ride:
determine route and timing
check weather, make sure to wear appropriate clothing
apply sunscreen if necessary
make sure chain is lubed
check air in tires, fill
check bag: spare tube, cartridge, pump, money, tire levers
find helmet, sunglasses, gloves
stuff pockets with arm warmers, phone, a treat, whatever else may be needed
apply chamois cream (if you don't know, don't ask)
fill and place water bottle(s)
reset cyclometer (that is, if you've figured out how to use it yet)
go forth

no, I didn't ride today, as the skies kept dumping snow, like mother nature was up there with a box of Downy Flakes, shaking them lightly and regularly over the entire city.
thus, I didn't have to prepare for a ride, and none of the above steps were on my list of to-do's today.

instead, I worked on another aspect of preparedness: readying myself for what life is sending my way.
at certain times in life we just cruise along, living each moment and each day, doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. at other times we're running behind, constantly accomplishing life's tasks only at the last conceivable minute. or later.
and then there are those miraculous days when we actually seem to pull ahead. when we catch up, clean up, think ahead, and prepare for what's coming.
today was one of the latter type of day for me.
some of my work was with tangible items, and some was with the intangible. but enough of it was about forward-moving events that it put me in a remarkable frame of mind: that of feeling prepared for what might be up ahead.

I love setting out for a ride knowing that I can tackle whatever might come along. I pick routes that I know I can ride, having ridden just about everything at least once before. I know I'm capable. 95% of the time I'm riding, I am dressed as perfectly (for the weather, not for the fashion pages) as possible. what a great feeling that is. when I leave my house on my bike I know that I have a phone, funds, and fix-it supplies for just about anything that may happen. I feel secure and safe.
all of that preparation pays off in a sense of well-being, comfort, and capability.

it works the same way in real life, life off the bike. when I'm on top of things, when I have knowledge about where I stand, when the ugly "to-do" list is full of simple, painless things: these are the times when I look forward with excitement and a sense of security. there are no dark and scary things pulling at me, telling me to deal with them, and no piles of repulsive to-do's shouting for my time.
I often avoid things when I'm uncertain of what to do with them, or when I fear that the knowledge and full awareness of the situation is too much for my psyche to deal with. the irony is that when I finally confront these things, they shrink in size and intensity immediately, and I swell with the sense of accomplishment and competence for having dealt with them.

today was about preparing for the future by successfully scouring away some of the stuff and junk from the past.

so now it's time to go clean my bike, so that I'm ready the next time the sun pokes its friendly face out from behind the clouds.

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