I suppose, riding off-road can be the metaphor to life, the skills that develop can easily be transferred to life, and that's the power of the riding. By learning from our riding, being outdoors, and setting challenges, can be conveyed into helping ourselves, and others. Cycling in all its forms has the ability to help us move forward towards positive physical and mental well-being, as long as we ride our our race we can all ride into a positive future, and after my week in Sussex, my blog will be better, I'll have solutions, that have real purpose.
I started to think of my own situation in terms of arriving at a Bike Park for the first time, seen as a series of brief lessons in life. Take my recent visit to Black Mountain Cycle Centre, with my son Jago and some of my old BMX race friends. It goes something like this....
Upon arrival at the drop off zone, the forestry opens up to reveal a network of trail choices. Smiling can often seem premature when you finally make a decision to ride a certain trail, but then have to immediately question your ability when the signage says….'is this trail for you?' Lesson One here is self belief.
Levels of skill, technical bike handling, jumping and confidence are tested on trails based upon ski resorts ascending from blue to black, each letting you know what type of rider you are, or not. At the top you can decide to 'Mix and Match' if you like, finding a preferred route back to the pick up zone of cafe, but either way it all starts with a decision. Lesson Two, being assertive.
Being mindful is a requirement, looking 5 plus metres down the trail is essential to staying on your bike and pre planning your movements. It's not a race, but sometimes speed is your friend, speed is not a requirement and yet speed will assist you round the turns. Lesson Three; Its about being confident.
Some sections require speed, focus, concentration, and decisions are preferably made immediately to avoid disaster, so split second judgment is key to staying on your bike. Self-belief develops the more you ride the trail, and over confidence will put you on your back or worse. Lesson Four; Learn and Develop.
So, how then can this help us find our way.
Our lives revolve around making decisions an too often we question the outcomes, as humans we find ourselves making impulsive snap judgments, or avoiding decisions we later believe might regret, and yet, this might be a missed opportunity. We are so brilliant at guessing with no factual information, it often takes others to put us in our place with a direct question or two. There are times at work when we lack being decisive, (speaking from experience) when that much needed measure of assertiveness might possibly have put a very different spin on a sticky situation, but the moment passed and we said ‘yes’, when really we meant ‘no’!
The activity of riding a bike, as fast as your skill allows, downhill, on trails built to build your confidence, or riding natural terrain where forward planning, preparation and route choice can be a brilliant foundation for life. If we are able to retrieve the data we require through being mindful of the activity, and then, reflecting on your achievements, this can easily become a key to life development and learning from those outcomes. By simply asking, what went well, how did it go well, what did you learn and How could I improve? The answers, if we are honest, will help us find our solution for the future.
Remember, this is a journey of wheels and waves, lets see where we ride to....