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That ship has NOT sailed!

Once upon a time, Peter and I bought a pair of bicycles. It had been years since either of us had been on a bike, so our excitement was tinged with a touch of nervousness as we each hopped on board and pedaled our way to the end of the driveway and down the street.

But our worries were unfounded – as they say, you really never do forget how to ride a bike – and it was glorious! Childhood memories rushed back with the freedom of the open air and the feeling of the wind on my face as we sailed our way to the end of the block.

We stopped to rest and chat for a few minutes, then decided to head back. Peter, wisely, went straight home… but I, feeling as though I really should accomplish more than just a trip down the block and back (in spite of the fact that I was out of shape and this was the first time I’d done any real exercise in a long while), decided to split off on my own and take the long way around.

At first I was fine… but all too soon my legs began to feel heavier and heavier, and by the time I’d rounded the last street on my way back I’m pretty sure they had turned to lead as I could barely force myself to move the pedals. Somehow I managed to make it home, shakily stowed the bike in the garage, and made my way inside where I collapsed on the recliner, panting and exhausted.

I could barely speak. Everything hurt. I was more fatigued than I remembered being in my entire life, and couldn’t imagine finding the strength to even lift myself out of the chair.

And I never got back on that bike again.

Oh, I intended to, once my muscles stopped aching and the memory of that bone-weariness had faded, but… I didn’t. Days, weeks, months passed as my bicycle sat in a corner of the garage gathering dust. Finally when we left Victoria a couple of years later I decided that, rather than add something more to the expensive weight of the moving truck, I’d say goodbye to my good intentions… and sold my sadly neglected bike to a friend (who, incidentally, ended up making FAR better use of it than I ever did).

Bicycle Racks

A little while back I was telling this story to a friend, and at the end added that I still hold out hope that some day I’ll be able to get a bike again – only this time, actually use it. Immediately realizing just how ridiculous that statement sounded in light of my most recent cycling experience, I laughed a trifle ruefully and said, “No, I guess that ship has sailed.” For a second I paused, suddenly uncertain, then offered hesitantly, “Well… maybe… you never know…?” The friend I’d been chatting with cut in on my unfinished thoughts with a dose of reality and said, “No, you’re right, that ship has sailed!” I laughed and agreed, and we moved on to other subjects.

Yet the conversation nagged at me.

The logical side of my brain told me that I was right, and that she was right. I’m in my (very) late 40s, I’m dreadfully (and I do mean DREADFULLY) out of shape, and I have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad track record for bicycle riding. Everything – everything – clearly indicates that for me, the dream of having and enjoying riding a bicycle is unrealistic.

But the perverse, rebellious, optimistic-to-a-fault side of my brain fought back with a defiant stomp of the foot. WHY am I limiting my potential with self-defeating talk? WHY am I closing my mind and writing off the possibility of growth, change, progress? WHY am I allowing past experience to define and cripple my future?

No, that ship has NOT sailed!

So, unrealistic and illogical as it may be, I have decided that I am not giving up on my dream. I honestly don’t know whether I’ll ever be in a position to own a bike again – and if I am, whether I’ll be able to find the strength, stamina, and stubbornness necessary to turn me into a person who enjoys cycling – but for me, for now, that ship has NOT sailed.

bicycle

Do you think it’s ever time to give up on a dream?
Please share!

NaBloPoMo August 2014

Laurel Regan – Writer, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, Growlita, iFan, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.

{ 26 comments… add one }

  • elly stornebrink
    Twitter:
    August 23, 2014

    It’s never too late to dream and you’re never too old for your dream or perhaps most of them (depending on the nature). However, there are more and more stories of people who have started and achieved their goals/dreams late in life. I am not an example – yet – though I hope my dream comes true too one day. ;) <3
    And I hear ya about the bike 'cause I have a somewhat similar story with mine sitting collecting dust for now. ;)
    elly stornebrink recently posted… Middle Child: You ARE Special! Today’s Your Day!My Profile

  • Carol Graham
    Twitter:
    August 23, 2014

    THANK YOU — your story is parallel to mine — now I will get that bike. My daughter told me I shouldn’t – she is worried I will break my neck. Guess I gotta prove her wrong. I need to get into shape and why not have fun while doing it. I hate aerobics or working out at the gym. Hate swimming in the pool — got any better ideas? THANK YOU — headed to get that bike!
    Carol Graham recently posted… Rich or Poor? A Matter of PerspectiveMy Profile

  • Sammy d August 23, 2014

    Laurel – all that childhood exhilaration you talked about rushing back when you and Peter rode that day? That’s why I STILL get on my bike at age 63 after multiple crashes. Because every single time, at some point during my ride, memories from childhood come streaming back, as well as from rides throughout my adult life.

    I’m scared every time now. And I can’t go as far or as fast. But I’ve adjusted to what my “new” ride is, and it is exhilarating even in its “elder” cycle.

    You might have gotten a tad too exuberant that day and overdone the length of your ride. But please don’t give it up yet. There are so many different kinds of bikes and places to ride – even if it’s a ride around the block, I promise you will feel your childhood again. Find a bike shop that rents bikes so you don’t need to make that buying commitment right away – either on your side if the river or Detroit or most definitely Ann Arbor, MI – pick a beautiful sunny autumn day; find a rental or borrow a friend’s; find one of the numerous biking trails and start small 1/2 hour. See what you think.

    Or just go for a stroll if biking seems like too much. But don’t ever think that ship has sailed unless you hoist the sail yourself :-)
    Sammy d recently posted… Pay-per-View? No, Pay-per-VoteMy Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      Twitter:
      August 24, 2014

      You’re inspiring me, Sammy, with your personal example and great ideas! As I was pondering my post and your response last night and chatting with Peter about the whole thing, I suddenly had an A-ha! moment (or was it a Duh! moment?! I’m not sure!). Just a block away from our house is the riverfront, with its gorgeous setting and a great bike path. I wouldn’t even have to go on the roads, except to get there. Why didn’t I key into that before?! Now I just need the bike. :)

      Yes, I definitely overdid it that day – and based on that experience, I know that if I get a chance to own a bike again, I will force myself to go slowly and pace myself – even if I feel I can do more, I’ll really take it easy the first few times. Maybe they have a Couch to 5K-type thing for cyclists that I can follow?!
      Laurel Regan recently posted… That ship has NOT sailed!My Profile

      • Sammy D August 24, 2014

        That sounds like a great idea – the path by the river. Have you walked it? If not you might try bits of that first just to scout out the curves, etc and get a feel for who else uses the path.

        My only caveat is, even though there are no cars, sometimes pedestrians, long-leashed dogs, and negligent bikers can (unwittingly) create hazards. I’ve got no qualms, and make it a point, to SHOUT OUT “biker approaching” before I’m rounding a blind corner because you never know what idiot has stopped on your half around the corner!!

        I don’t want to scare you from starting, just make you an assertively safe rider because others aren’t paying attention. That way, you will enjoy your own rides.

        I hope you do this – easy, enjoyable distances first with gentle stretching and increase distance over time. I will be thinking of you when I ride :-)
        Sammy D recently posted… Pay-per-View? No, Pay-per-VoteMy Profile

        • Laurel Regan
          Twitter:
          August 25, 2014

          Yes, walking it is lovely – it really is a nice path. Next time I do it I’ll have to pay more attention to how it’s used by cyclists… and when I get a bike, I’ll have to get a bell for it, as my voice is way too quiet and would never carry!
          Laurel Regan recently posted… A new year is coming!My Profile

  • usha menon August 24, 2014

    Your adventure with the bike made a very interesting reading. You and Peter must have gone back in memory, when both of you were young! I am impressed by your determination to ride a bike again. Good Luck,Laurel.

  • Beloo Mehra August 24, 2014

    A very interesting and thought-provoking read, Laurel! Thanks for sharing your experience. Now you have got me thinking on some things….. :)
    Beloo Mehra recently posted… 12 Most…My Profile

  • Sophie Bowns
    Twitter:
    August 24, 2014

    I don’t think we should ever give up on our dreams if we want something enough!

  • Shalini
    Twitter:
    August 24, 2014

    Interesting read, Laurel! I loved the bike. It’s funky :) Good luck!
    Shalini recently posted… Popcorn ChickenMy Profile

  • Sheethal August 24, 2014

    That was an interesting read. Yea, we shouldn’t never give up on our dreams… those just keeps us alive. :)
    Sheethal recently posted… If I were …My Profile

  • Eli August 24, 2014

    Nooooo! Never ever too late !, I say :-) Chase your dream wherever it leads and whenever it comes – life is too short to do otherwise… Great told story Laurel – enjoyed your bicycle – tale :-) And do what makes you happy, girl:-)
    Eli recently posted… And then the Prime Minister came to town..My Profile

  • susan - ofeverymoment
    Twitter:
    August 25, 2014

    This story is a metaphor for many things in life. We should never let go of our dreams – unless the are replaced by more satisfying ones!

  • Cathy Roberts August 25, 2014

    Go for it. Get a bike. And redefine what having fun on a bike means to you. If its cycling to the end of the block and back, that’s cool! I think its important to remember that there is no “right” way to be a bicycler. The right way is the way that makes it fun for you! Take it slow and who knows in several years you may be a 50+ avid biker like I’m a 50+ avid hiker!

    I have a bike (bought in 1989) but it has been so neglected because I prefer hiking, that its on its last legs now (very rusty) and will need to be replaced if I decide to do any serious bike riding.

    Cathy

  • Annah Elizabeth
    Twitter:
    August 26, 2014

    It’s never too late to realize a dream! AND, there are many big cities that have bike stations where you can pay to ride. I just saw this in one of the many cities I’ve passed through this summer. Check out your town.

    I wish we had that in our town, but since we don’t, I was so moved to purchase my first bike in I don’t know how many years. And since we live in the country, it’s one of those rugged bikes with thick wheels. Now all I need is an uber-comfy memory foam seat. I road it once. My butt-bones are still screaming at me…

    Ride, Laurel, RIDE!
    Annah Elizabeth recently posted… Back to School in Serendipitous and Chicken of the Sea StyleMy Profile

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