by Judy Kroll

I am flying. I am free. I am unfettered by life’s responsibilities and to-do lists. The only thing I am  focused on is the constant repetitive motion of my legs going around in a continuous circular motion.

The chain, which acts as the engine for my vehicle, propels me forward, using my body as its fuel. I am working on maintaining my cadence: smooth and consistent speed and motion. To do this I must scrutinize the terrain on which I am riding.

Is it smooth, bumpy, hilly or flat? I must change gears, and use my body to shift positions. I do this (almost) effortlessly.

I have been riding for twenty years.

“What you hope to do with ease you must first learn to do with diligence.” I have often said that for me, a bicycle is the second best thing that I like to feel between my legs! It is one of only a few exercises you can do sitting down.  I love and need it. It is the anecdote to whatever ails me.

I feel the cool breeze blowing across my face and through my helmet. The chain and speed is still being powered by me and me alone. One mile, two miles, warm-up is over. My tripometer reaches the 5 mile mark and I am soaring. I have become one with the bike.

It is an extension of my body.

I am clipped in with special shoes which allow me to complete a full circular motion.  The wind gets strong as I am in an upright position. I am struggling against it, till I know to lower my body position and tuck it down, holding the lower part of my handlebars so I am flowing with the conditions rather than fighting against them.

My speed is slow at first: only 10 miles an hour, then it steadily increases. 15mph, 20 mph, 25mph on the downhill. Then there appears a monster before me: a steep incline that my skinny-tired machine and me must beat at all costs. Never give up. Never be defeated. Face your challenges head on. Summon every ounce of strength inside of you. NEVER walk your bike!

I am ready…

My mind races, the endorphines are surging and pulsating throughout my being. Nothing matters but getting to the top. Shift to an easy gear, tuck your body in and spin, spin, spin. Use your arms to pull yourself up into a standing position if you must, push your body to its limit until you are gasping for air trying to accomplish this one immediate goal.

Inch by inch you climb. Pushing upward strong at 10 miles per hour at first, then as the steepness increases, slowing, slowing, slowing, pushing… 7 mph, 4 mph. Don’t look back or forward at the incline before you.

Look down at your pedal strokes and push yourself with everything you’ve got until you are propelled forward. “I think I can, I think I can.” You crest the top of the mountain and still gasping for air you reach a flat terrain and then a  downhill.

Wheee…I am still breathing heavy, but flying again. I am free……………………………….




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