“What if I ride a bike to work, I wonder if my calf could handle that? Oh, but I don’t own a bike… Wait, yes I do, but I think that bike is 20-something years old. That’s gotta be, like, 90 in bike years. That will never work… I could buy a bike. But a good bike is at least $1,000 or something. Plus, I think it’s at least 20 miles from my house to the office. That’s a long way. Bah! Never mind…”
In the fall of 1992, an enthusiastic, bright, college student bought a raffle ticket at a fundraiser for a mission trip to Mexico that she would be involved with that December. She had never won a raffle before and didn’t think of herself as especially lucky, but this was for a good cause, “So why not buy a ticket?” she thought.
But then she won!
It was a Giant Rincon hybrid mountain bike worth over $500! (Remember, this was 1992.) And although this college senior was active, she wasn’t really into cycling and had no need for the bike. So that night she gave the bike to her boyfriend as a gift.
Lucky me, I was that boyfriend! And, in case you’re wondering, my answer was “yes.” I was smart enough to make that particular college senior my wife. But that’s another story for another article. Back to the bike.
That bike has seen many mountain biking trails, beaches, and roads over the years, but it has sat in our garage mostly idle for the last several years collecting dust and rust. The tires got old and brittle; the brakes were worn down, and the chain and gearing were both pretty banged up. We weren’t going to give it to charity or toss it out because it’s such a cool part of my family’s story, but it’s just been sitting in our garage for a decade or so.
But then a skiing accident in Colorado this winter put the kibosh on my spring running plans. I knew I would need another physical activity to replace running, but was not exactly sure which one. On the same ski trip, a friend was telling the group how he commutes to work via his bicycle most days during the week in the spring and summer months. I did not think much about that conversation until the plane ride home when it really sunk in that I was not going to be running any time soon, as an MRI confirmed that my leg was not broken, but my calf did suffer a grade 2 contusion. If I was going to stay active – which is important to me – I would need to find another activity. The internal conversation went something like:
In a matter of about 15 seconds, I considered riding a bike and then dismissed the idea quickly by telling myself all the reasons it wouldn’t work. Talk about an active Lizard Brain! But when I pulled into the garage that evening, I took a look at that 25-year-old bike and decided that maybe, with a little TLC, it might be good for a few more rides. Later that week, I hauled it to our local bike shop where they slapped on some new ties and gave it a quick tune up. I certainly did not have the latest and greatest cycling equipment, and I was not sure about the exact route I would take to get to work, but I kept on. I did some research on Google Maps and found that it was not nearly 20 miles to my office – it was only 8, and gosh, maybe I could handle an 8 mile bike ride. So a few weeks later on a Monday, there I was, pedaling that 25-year-old gift from my college sweetheart into the office.
And you know what? It was not a perfect route, it was not a perfect bike, and I still have a LOT to learn about commuting as a cyclist. Yes, I was extremely tired by the end of the ride, but I had a new activity under my belt. I was feeling pretty good about myself, along with the accomplishment of starting something new.
I started. Now that I have started this new biking to work deal, figuring out improvements and other tricks along the way is not nearly as hard as it all seemed on that plane ride home from Colorado.
That right there is my message to you today: If there is something that you are looking to start – let’s face it, we all have something in mind – please start it now. You want to lose weight, commit a new sales discipline, start a new hobby, finally get it right with your boss or your son or your mother or… you get my point. Let me assure you that the conditions will never, ever, EVER be completely perfect for you to start that thing you want to start. Don’t wait until the timing or the conditions are just right. Just start anyway.
Even if you don’t know exactly how to begin the activity you want to do… just start.
Even if you’re not sure it will work out and you’re a little scared… just start.
Even if everyone will make fun of you or tell you it’s dumb… just start.
Even if you’re not exactly sure of the best route to take… just start.
Even if your bike is 25-years-old… just start.
Do you have a story about something you’ve been inspired to start recently or something you’d like to start soon? Let us know!