This morning, I woke up, dreading what was ahead of me. I hit snooze on my phone alarm a whopping five times before throwing off the covers, digging through my laundry basket and donning my bike shorts. I downed some breakfast cereal; I didn't even try to persuade myself to fuel-up properly with an egg. My heart simply wasn't up for another grueling ride on the hot downtown streets.
Still, I laced up my shoes, filled my water bottle and dragged my bike down the stairs of my apartment. Usually, I plan a route for myself. If I'm really motivated, I map out the mileage and note distances by landmarks. Today, I just turned left out of my street and began to meander, aimlessly. My muscle memory put me on a regular route toward White River State Park. On auto-pilot, I coasted along the cultural trail. But as I rounded the turn down New Jersey Street, something clicked.
I screeched to a halt, dismounted my bike, and took a few minutes to greet the urban chickens on the corner of St. Clair and New Jersey. As I cooed at the birds, I realized why I've become so lackadaisical in my biking adventures. They've stopped being... well, adventurous. In my gusto to reach my 50-mile mark, I strapped on blinders to the world around me. Riding with tunnel vision, I've seen only the path ahead of me and none of the scenery as I pass.
I've been looking at this whole bicycle thing with tunnel vision. Instead of considering the myriad of reasons I bought a bike to begin with, I've focused on the one reason to continue riding through the Summer heat. With razor sharp focus on distances and pacing and goals, I handicapped myself into hating the obligation of it all. In my short-sightedness, I lost motivation. I lost track of my bicycling bliss.
I bid farewell to the chickens, and decided that training could wait this morning. I'd forgotten how glorious the world could look on a joyride, and I was determined to find that sense of wonder again.
Instead of tracking my time or my distance, I took in the sights. I waved and smiled at passersby. I wandered. I ambled. I moved without aim. I didn't set any goals. I found happiness in just moving, just seeing, just being on a bicycle.
The 50-mile ride will happen, whether I'm completely prepared or not. But if I can re-teach myself to love being on a bike, I know every mile will be, if not easier, at least more fun than the last.