As a Spinning instructor I find myself reflecting on how much the bike can be analogous to life. Here are some of my observations with regard to this Life/Cycle Connection.
When reflecting on those who are hardworking and successful, I can’t help but think of a duck. Silly? Let me explain. When you see a duck on water, do you see their feet?
When ducks are floating along happily, we can observe the occasional dip or dive to retrieve water and other riparian treats, but we can’t see their feet paddling under the water. Above water they are calm and cool. Below water they are working, steering and guiding themselves past obstacles and potential dangers.
I try to emulate this posture on the bike.
Our lower bodies need to work hard to keep the pedals moving and maintain a strong, intentional cadence. The upper body must remain relatively relaxed, yet at attention. What a great way to go through life. Fight to do that difficult task, or reach that goal, and do it with controlled passion. Work hard but don’t complain about it. Oh, if it were only that easy. It’s not…but we can try!
During a recent off road ride with a friend (who is a beast on the bike), we hit an open gravel road. He shared that the road was mainly all hill and we’d be climbing! I immediately went into “hunker down” mode, leaned forward and dug in. My friend said, “Joy, pretend you’re on the Spin bike. Don’t you tell your class to relax their upper body, use a light grip only leg strength? It’s the same on the road!” He was absolutely right! This is what I tell my class. The circumstances were different (mountain bike v. Spin bike), but the approach is the same!
We don’t get to choose our life challenges or when they hit us, but we do have a choice in terms of how we approach them. I think that’s why this particular Life/Cycle lesson of keeping calm but working hard resonates with me. When at a loss for what to do in a challenging time, keep focused and try to relax “above water,” but keep paddling forward and around obstacles. We can rise above our circumstances mentally, if we really think positively on purpose.
Simply put…don’t be a sitting duck—stay calm and paddle on!
Joy Gianakura is a spin instructor, mother of two twenty-somethings, a University Administrator and a wellness advocate who believes that we all have some control over the quality of our lives.