Yesterday I got back on my bike–hooray for me!

I’ve been contemplating getting back on my bike for months. My shoulder injury and surgery last year put my cycling adventures on hold. In December I got back to cycling in the safety of an indoor studio. But since then, although I talked to my husband about it, spoke to my friends about it, committed to my spinning instructor that I’d do it…I didn’t get back on my bike.

Where was the motivation I once knew? I love to ride my bike. Of all the varied activities I engage to stay in shape, brighten my mood, and lift my spirit, cycling has been the most life-giving exercise for me.

What happened? Life happened.

That is often the story behind our inability to make changes, even changes we want. One thing we value gets in the way of doing other things we want to do, or things we know we need to do for our best health, our best life.

Preparing for change is a necessary, but often neglected step. I had to develop a plan in order to get back on the road. My bike had a flat tire, hadn’t been lubed, needed a tune-up. Which meant either taking it to the bike shop or enlisting the support of my husband because I gave up my bike-mechanic career years ago. And, I didn’t want to head out on my first ride in a year and a half by myself. Which meant planning with a friend or my husband (who hasn’t been riding either) a date to actually get the bikes in the car and meet at the Rose Bowl to ride. So, I enlisted Dave’s support and he got the bikes tuned up and tires pumped up a few weekends ago.

But then, life happened: we had dinner guests and other commitments one weekend, Easter and other plans already scheduled for the next.

You know the story. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. As my favorite Saturday Night Live character Rosanna Rosanna Danna used to say, “It’s always something…”

Making time and space amidst the competing priorities of life is another necessary step in the change process. This past Saturday evening I made a commitment to myself that I’d ride my bike on Sunday. One way or another, I’d do it. Even if it was only one lap around the parking lot at the Rose Bowl, I’d just do it.

Dave joined me and yesterday afternoon we put on our cycling clothes (another potential obstacle is not having the right clothes…right? Can’t ride a bike in any old clothes like when we were kids…), packed up the bikes, helmets and cycling shoes, and headed to the Rose Bowl.

It's always something: Oops, wrong shoes!

We unpacked the bikes and got out the shoes only to discover I’d packed my indoor cycling shoes that have different cleats from my outdoor cycling shoes! Ugh! Another obstacle.

Determined to make it happen, I took a short spin around the parking lot in my orange indoor/outdoor slippers and decided it was good enough. It didn’t matter what anyone else would think of me, decked out in all the right clothes with slippers on my feet. I just did it!

And it was great! We rode a few laps, got a tiny sweat going, and enjoyed the perfect spring day. I loved it. And I loved being back on my bike.

Obstacles to change, even change we want, are many. Preparing and planning for action, enlisting the support of others, and pressing through barriers that arise in the process are expected parts of change.

Integrative health coaching is a partnership and process designed¬† to help people make changes that support good health. If you or someone you love could use some help getting back on their bikes, reducing stress, making dietary changes, or anything else that might get in the way of optimal health, I or one of the colleagues I trained with at Duke University’s Integrative Health Coaching program would love to support you in the journey.

Contact me and I’ll help you get started on the road to the change you’ve been considering but delaying because life keeps getting in the way.