Falling

I’ve learned another critical life-lesson while riding my bicycle. As a point of information, many bicycle riders wear special shoes that are attached to the pedals via a clip system.  The advantage is that bike shoes make the pedaling much more efficient. The disadvantage is if you don’t get at least one shoe unclipped fast enough when you are coming to a stop, the  result is an embarrassing spill while still attached to the bike. Trust me this is something you don’t want to have happen for a couple of reasons.  Skin and asphalt aren’t designed for real close proximity, but more than the physical hurt is the emotional one. A grown man dressed in Lycra falling over on a bicycle is not at pretty sight and certainly not at all ego boosting.

Early on in my riding career a friend told me that he finds bicycle riding to be a metaphor of life itself. I have found that to be true. Just like the fact that all bike riders will take spills, that same truth is mirrored in life itself.  In other words in life everybody will “fall” some. Here is some of what I learned during and after one of my more public falls: I was overconfident. I had ridden so many miles without falling over that I had become complacent. I had gotten to the place where I no longer had a healthy fear of falling. Carelessness was the direct cause of my spill.  I no longer thought it could happen to me.  I didn’t keep my guard up.

During the time just before the fall I made some poor choices. Instead of taking care of business and doing the things I knew to do, I panicked. In other words all the way to the tipping point, I knew what to do. I had the skills; I could have taken control, but I didn’t.  I nearly took my riding partner down with me.  Had that happened, he would have been an innocent victim of my mistake.  Yep, bicycle riding is indeed a metaphor of life.

All that was learned was not negative.  While lying there on the pavement in downtownFranklin,Tennessee, still fully attached to the bicycle with God knows how many eyes glued to me, I realized that the spill was not nearly as embarrassing and ego wounding as I had visualized.  All I really had to do to put it behind me was get up, laugh and start pedaling again.

Something to Think About.

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