Cycling through life

For my seasoned readers, this post won’t be a big surprise. For you new subscribers…here’s your chance to experience a pretty consistent pattern with me. Inevitably you will get a biking-themed message after our annual bike trip.

I learn invaluable life lessons (and experience many “aha” moments) on my bike.  And what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t share them with you??

My husband, Kris, and I are touring cyclists.  That means we ride long distances (50+ miles per day), up to a week at a time, often carrying baggage. This year, we logged 300 miles across the eastern U.P. of Michigan.

When touring, our focus is on feeling good during the entire ride. Speed is secondary. We track it for fun and comparison, but it is not the primary measure our performance.

There is value in trading speed for comfort. Especially when you commit to a long-term endeavor. Whether it’s biking, your career, building a business – most of life is not about a race or competition.

What can you do to make your progress easiest and feel good throughout the journey?

Maintain the same effort, not the same gear

On the road, a three mile downhill glide into a lush river valley may take 5 minutes. The three mile climb out of the same valley to the summit of the bluffs may take 25 minutes.

Same distance, very different speed.

That’s why bikes come with multiple gears.  When things get tough, downshift. It allows you to keep moving forward without getting off the bike to push.  (You can also add a little extra muscle when things are easy and get full advantage of the glide.)

When you’re in it for the long haul, it’s the average over time that counts. The best way to keep moving forward is to make it a little easier on yourself during the tough parts.

Where in your life are you always in high gear? What can you do to downshift?

Respond to your experience, not your expectation

When training for our trips, we ride familiar routes around town. We know the terrain and have a good idea of what to expect from each ride. Most of the time…

Enter outside forces: wind, rain, traffic, and the occasional flat tire.

Enter internal forces: how much we slept, what we ate and the inevitable – and often unexplainable – “heavy legs day”.

These variables make each ride a new experience, even on a road we’ve taken dozens of times.

When you have your expectations set (i.e. just around the corner it will get easier with the wind at my back) and those expectations aren’t met (you turn into a headwind) it can be difficult to remember to shift gears. Refer back to #1.

How is expectation clouding your experience? Where can you let it go?

Plan your rest

On the road, we don’t always have the option to end our day early just because we feel tired. Sometimes we have to reach our scheduled destination so we have a place to stay.

That’s why it is critically important to plan rest. That may mean taking short breaks throughout the ride, or consciously scheduling a short mileage day.

Even riders in the Tour de France get rest days. When your rest, both your body and mind have the opportunity to recover. You avoid burnout, leaving you better-prepared for the unexpected.

How often do you rest?  Where can you add regular breaks or an “easy day” to your week?


When it comes to biking (and work and life), keep a steady effort, go with the flow, and take a break. Tell me in the comments below how you plan to follow use three simple concepts.

Enjoy the ride!


p.s. In lieu of a Vlog today, I’ve created a brief montage of photos from our trip (and a little extra inspiration)…enjoy!

Screenshot 2015-06-14 20.43.13

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4 comments… add one

Susan June 16, 2015, 10:15 pm

That was a beautiful video. I could feel the fresh, crisp air. You were sleeveless. It must have only been 70 degrees.


Jill Jill June 16, 2015, 10:33 pm

Yes, it never got warmer than low 70s and no humidity. Perfect for my Minnesota temperature gauge…and for 5 hours in the saddle!


Ellen June 19, 2015, 9:51 pm

Great video, Jill – looks like you & Kris had an amazing trip!


Jill Jill June 19, 2015, 10:38 pm

It was amazing – each trip has it’s own charm (and related stories!)


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