I was on a huge ride with huge hills the other day, when I saw these signs. One of them was not true.
It was a hot day and while I was climbing this fairly enormous hill, I was thinking about the statement: “Not a Tough Road.” Can a road even be “tough?” As a former publisher of this site, Prince Halmet, once said:
A road is neither flat nor steep, but thinking makes it so.
– -Shakespeare, Hamlet Act 2, Scene 2 (roughly)
Of course he was from Copenhagen, where all the roads really are flat by any measure. But still, I have to agree with his statement. It is not the road that is tough, it is we bikers who are tough. Many hills that I now don’t even notice, I once thought were significant.
I know that many of you who want to be bikers may not yet believe Halmet’s statement to be true. I have heard from many people whom I like and admire that they would ride more if they were in better physical condition. But I must answer that riding is not primarily about the body, but rather about the mind.
As you may know, I love experiments. So here’s an experiment you can try at home if you don’t believe me: Next time you are sleeping soundly in the comfort of your own home and dreaming about momma’s chocolate chip cookies and thinking of all the reasons why you feel you shouldn’t ride to work today, ask yourself when you wake up: Was it a physical barrier, or a mental block that kept you from doing what you know you really wanted to do–ride your bike?
Here’s my humble recommendation: Find your magic song that will help you find your way to do what you know you really want to do. You want to be able to transform your inner Dwight from a meek “Assistant to the Regional Manager” of a local paper company to the leader of the Dwight Army of Champions! Your magic song will make it possible.
(Why are you going to give me this raise? The least you could do is keep my salary consistent with inflation!)
I know now that there are no tough roads, only tough riders. After biking for my first couple of months, several years ago, and doing my mental exercises, and singing my magic song, I never even think any longer about whether I want to bike to work or not. I know that in the Dwight Army of Champions, there is no question. We are Awesome!