As I’m charging around the Lakes it feels as if I’m gliding along the ground. I don’t feel the bicycle beneath me. This is independence. A little over a year ago I was still struggling with anxiety, depression and grief. I was not enjoying life or using it to its full potential. I worked long and hard to get by, but that’s all I was doing. I was exhausted. I wasn’t living. I didn’t feel good about myself or even confident in my abilities. I decided that had to change. I hated being on the couch. I hated sitting on the sidelines. I was young enough to change the course of my life, but old enough to know my options were shrinking. I needed to take care of myself and start putting myself first.
I took a risk and I signed up for a series of spin classes. I showed up that first day to find out I was the only rider enrolled that morning. It was nerve-racking. It was hard. I struggled to keep my legs moving for the full 45 minutes. I was sore and exhausted, but I felt good. I kept going to classes all summer. I set small goals, steadily accomplished them and made larger goals.
I wasn’t until almost fall that I was able to take my developing confidence outside. I signed up for the Minneapolis Bike Tour. I wasn’t exactly happy with the feel of the hand-me-down bike. The fit wasn’t right even after several adjustments. I opted for the easy route and finished way before the crowd. I had underestimated myself.
That autumn, I fit in a few more outdoor rides. Had one cycle studio close and tried some others. I found a new Spinning home and kept up my workouts all winter. I researched bicycles. I shed things that no longer worked for me from clothes, to habits, to relationships.
As soon as the weather warmed up I put miles on the old bike, until I proved to myself that the investment in a new one was worth it. Now I’m dashing around the Lakes. I am one with the bike. I am a machine. My legs are pistons. I hit the zone. I go where I want, when I want. I stop, I pass, I push on. I am confident. I am relaxed. I left fear on the doorstep. I am free.