the other day I spent a little time discussing my "emerging skill" of riding without holding onto my handlebars.
(look ma, no hands! look ma, no teeth!)
I practice this on beacon street, and on my own street. both come during the last few miles of my ride, and both are descents. but beacon has curves, and my street is straight as a stick.
beacon is where I practice fearlessness.
or chicken out.
this morning I was completely fearless . . . until I chickened out.
what happens is my mind starts reminding me how imperfect a hands-free rider I am, how sharp the curve is, and how much it will hurt to crash. how the wind might gust and pull, how a bump or crack in the road might grab, how a tire might slip on a little teeny imperceptible-to-the-eye-at-twenty-mph rock.
and then fear (rationality?) takes hold and I lean down, grip the handlebars, and squawk. bwrack!
there is a line somewhere between bravery and fear, between risk-taking and stupidity. I'm currently trying to ride that line and more often than not I err on the side of fear (intelligence). I truly don't want to have to explain to anyone (my kids) that I crashed while trying to ride without holding on as I rode downhill around a corner.
but darn it all, I want to be able to do that with confidence, any time I want. the fact that I did it once is just that: a solitary fact. I want to know that I can do it again, and again.
so I need to keep practicing, which means being brave enough to try it, and finding a way to cross that border between "I'm scared" and "I have faith that I'll succeed."
having faith means trusting that you have within you everything you need. and that the universe will back you up. back to the words I learned in peter matthiessen's book about nepal,
bwrack no more!