Anyone who knows me, knows I cycle a lot. I did a charity cycle 2 years ago from Dublin to Rome to raise money for the Irish Cancer Society and took up cycling at that time. I bought the bike in January and left for Rome in June! So there wasn’t that many months to cycle but I knew if I put in the training I’d get there.
So daily, I’d do something that would take me closer to my goal of completing this cycle. I’d come home from work and change and go out for 2 / 3 hours, come home, eat dinner, relax for an hour and go to bed. It was intense. I met some amazing people but it was a privilege being able to do it also.
So these are 3 things I’ve learned recently about life from cycling and thinking back about them, I might sign up for another charity cycle challenge! 🙂
Rolling along through life, we’re all equal
No matter what kind of bike you have, no matter how fit you are, no matter what colour gear you’re wearing, no matter where you come from, when you’re rolling along beside someone, or feeling pain cycling up a hill – you’re both equal. I found it amazing when out for a spin, meeting farmers who were just cycling between their fields, tipping along at their own pace, and professional cyclists out to get their heart rate in a certain zone for a certain time period. I’d slow down to talk to the farmer and try to keep up with the professional cyclist! Everyone loves having the chat when you’re cycling, and it’s a sport that I’ve found has people that love talking to each other. Rolling along beside people, you’re the same. You’re equal. You’re 2 people enjoying a section of your journey together. You’re both just rolling along enjoying the day and enjoying the ability to be out and about!
Application for life: We all have doubts, insecurities and beliefs that hold us back but we’ve all experienced these things at some point in our lives. When you’re rolling along on the journey of life, we’re all the same. We try to compare ourselves to each other, and feel better about ourselves when the other person has less, but feel worse when the other person has more. It’s the same with cycling, you might be out on a £1000 bike rolling along beside a person on a £10,000 carbon bike. You’re still rolling along the journey, rolling along the road. At the core we’re all the same. We don’t think we’re good enough for success, we don’t think we deserve good things to happen to us, we doubt we can achieve our goals, we believe we can’t do things. So be kind to each other along the journey of life – we all have our struggles. We’re all experiencing pain at some point on our life journey. If saying hello and sharing part of the journey with another person helps them get through their pain – isn’t that worth it?
Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right
I loved this quote by Henry Ford and found when I was out on the bike if I knew a hill was coming up and was in the wrong frame of mind, I’d be defeated and would struggle cycling up the hill. Other times when I know I’m in the right frame of mind, I flew up the hill comfortably. Same hill, the only difference was my mindset at the time. Our mind will always give up before our bodies ever will. I believe the “wall” is non-existent. I think it exists in our minds rather than in our bodies. I thought my wall was 50km when I started out cycling and one day after cycling 235km (after getting lost) I realised I could’ve kept going and that there was no wall! It scared be because it made me doubt everything I’d previously thought about my abilities to do certain things. So before a hill I would say to myself “This is easy,” or “the bike is really light and I’m really strong,” or “I’m powerful and am going to complete this challenge because I know I can.” Same hill that defeated me previously with these affirmations helped me fly up!
Application for life: Change your state, change your mindset before taking on tasks. If you need to give a presentation and are stressed, worried, low in energy and low in self-confidence do something to change this! There’s lots of things that you can do when you’re in these states and I’ve done previous posts about certain things you can do (Links below). The biggest thing is when you’re doubting your belief of what’s possible for you – to change this and remember it only exists in your mind! There is no wall or ceiling to your limits – it’s all in your head. So change what you think about yourself through visualising you doing the task successfully, use affirmations like “I can do this,” or “This is easy,” or “I’ve already presented successfully so many times before,” or “I’m a great presenter and people enjoy listening to me speak.” Imagine stating these before speaking rather than saying “I’m shite at presenting,” or “Last time I spoke I mumbled so many words, I’m a terrible speaker.” Same presentation, different state. Get in front of a mirror and smile at yourself, focus on all the good things about yourself. Be grateful for the opportunities you have to learn, present before people and practice your public speaking. Be optimistic that it’s going to go well and shake off the feelings of doubt by literally jumping up and down so your body has a different energy!
Always do your best, some days it’s a 10, others a 3 – just make sure it’s your best!
I had many days before setting out on the bike not feeling up to cycling, not feeling great about myself, hungry and tired and wanting to sit in and watch Game of Thrones! I knew though that I had to train and so would go out anyway. I always measure my cycle based on average speed and sometimes I am impressed with my pace and other days it’s embarrassing! I know though that every time I go out on the bike that if I can say I’ve given my all, that I have no regrets or can’t feel bad coming home and looking back over the cycle.
Application for life: In life too often we beat ourselves up for things that we have no controls over. In life we beat ourselves up over things we should’ve done, could’ve done or would’ve done looking back. Looking back there’s always things you can do differently. However, there’s nothing you can do about the past except the meaning you associate with it. So knowing at the present moment that you’re giving your best at the time, looking back at this moment you can’t have regrets because you’ve done your best. If you look back and think you could’ve done things differently, use that next time the circumstance happens rather than beating yourself up for something you can’t change.
So there you have it! Some things that have stood out to me recently and lessons I’ve applied from cycling to life. I hope you enjoyed reading and would love to hear sports you’ve been able to apply lessons from!
Links to previous blog posts: