I detested cycling.
I was in the young mom stage where all the days tend to run together. Getting out of sweatpants by 2 p.m. was a huge accomplishment (cute yoga pants weren’t yet a thing), changing diapers was the extent of my skillset, going to Target was considered an activity, and rocking out to “Old McDonald Had a Farm” for the 100th time made me want to tell Old McDonald what he could do with his farm. Needless to say, when my husband took up cycling on “his time off” and spent 4-6 hours MIA on “my day off”, I began to loathe anything and everything that had to do with riding a bike. I was bitter.
The first time he asked me to ride with him, I had reluctantly borrowed a bike from a friend. Why anyone would want to ride within 6 inches of cars speeding down a road and have their nether regions go numb (while calling it fun), made no sense to me. I was a runner and liked that I could escape with simplicity. But the pounding of the pavement was beginning to take its toll on my knees and back.
You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.
It would be many, many years later that I stopped envisioning slashing my husband’s bike tires. Eventually, I began to come around to the idea of riding, the cycling bug bit, and I found my body preferred it, too. The unfortunate part for me was that I’m a bit of a sissy when it comes to riding outside in the cold. So when winter cycling season would come around, I was left to find something else to do.
One day, a friend of mine invited me to a cycling class at a local gym. I couldn’t believe I said yes. All I knew about those classes were stories of people losing their lunch and pedaling so fast their stationary bike takes flight. But I went anyway and actually hated the first 15 minutes. It was the hardest but most exhilarating experience all at the same time. Once I stopped hyperventilating and stopped fixating on how insane the instructor was, something magical began to happen… I began to tell myself “push through”, “one more song” and “breathe”. Gradually, I became stronger. I was hooked and have been now for the last 5 years.
Little did I know, the first day I stepped foot in that cycling class, my life was going to change. I could not have imagined that I would literally crave the hour on the bike that would heal, challenge, inspire, and ultimately change my body, mind, and soul. And I certainly hadn’t the foggiest idea I would end up instructing and inspiring others in hopes it would do the same for them too! So what is it? What keeps me doing this year after year?
There are many reasons I ride… because I love music and how it motivates me to work hard, because there are days when I need to get on that bike and work through the stress of my current circumstances, because those endorphins my body produces often carry me throughout the day while keeping me a little more sane, because I can compete against myself and be “alone” if I want, even though I’m surrounded by a room full of other people, because it’s fun and makes me feel strong, and because the little kid inside of me that never felt like an athlete somehow feels like one on that bike.
I’ve never experienced any sort of workout that kept me coming back for more and brought me all the elements indoor cycling has to offer. Many people I talk to describe their fear of cycling class and can give me their list of reasons why they can’t, won’t or don’t ride. I know that list well because it was mine at one point too. Don’t let fear be your reason from trying something new, especially cycling. Who knows… you just might one day have your own “why I ride” story too!