Like Riding A Bike

20 Nov

I’ve been home from Italy for exactly one month today. That one month has felt more like a year, but that’s another story. I was daydreaming a little bit today, and I was thinking about an afternoon back in Rome when my roommate and I were standing on a bridge near our apartment watching a mom try to teach her son how to ride a bike. Every single time the mom would run along side the bike holding the handle bars, but as soon as she let go the kid would coast for a few feet and then put his feet down and stop himself. (Then the mom would scream at the kid loud enough for us to hear on top of a bridge 50 yards away.. but hey, this isn’t a parenting class.)

This is actually the view from the bridge we were on. I miss having this as my morning commute.

I remember wondering why it was such a difficult concept for kids to understand – if you just keep pedaling, you won’t fall over! It wasn’t until today that I realized what the problem is. The difficulty in learning to ride a bike has nothing to do with skill. What skill is really involved anyway? Yes, a little balance helps out, but for the most part if you keep pushing your feet on the pedals, you will go.

The problem is fear. We all know that if we fall off our bike the only thing there to catch us is the cold, hard cement. People aren’t afraid of riding a bike, they are afraid of the pain that comes from falling off that bike. The thought of a bloody elbow or a fat lip paralyzes us and turns the simplest job into a mountain of a challenge.

Most of us eventually learn to ride a bike, but most people NEVER learn to silence that fear inside of us. All too often, we let fear impact the decisions we make every day. How many times have you regretted a decision because you were too embarrassed or afraid to do what you really wanted to? I certainly am not exempt from this group. My challenge to you, and to myself, is to face that fear. Fight with it. Make the decisions that deep down you really know you want to make.

Ride that fucking bike.

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