Photo: Cara Maclean

It’s Spring, the weather is warmer. It’s the time when people start venturing out more, especially after this last year! My little family hops on our mountain bikes and finds some hills to ride. Last weekend, we found a perfect spot for the boys to ride that’s fun for us too. I’m not the best rider, but I’ve improved over the years. I know enough to shout reminders at my kids, which I’d probably do even if they didn’t need it. I’m sure I’ll learn to keep more to myself when they’re older and let them blissfully take risks as I silently cringe. As I watched my kiddos zip around corners and zoom along the trail, it occurred to me that these biking reminders apply to life as well.

The consequences are different, but the reminders are equally helpful. You won’t be careening off a cliff or ending up in the weeds. At least, I hope not. You could, however, end up in a life you don’t enjoy or in a seemingly inescapable slump. No bueno.

To improve the flow of mountain biking (and life), remember these three things:

1. Look where you want to go!

If you’re looking at the scary obstacles, or down the edge of a cliff where you could plummet to your death, you’re more likely to go there. Keep your sights on where you want to go, especially around the curves. When things change direction slightly, it’s easier to lose focus or control. That’s the time when it’s most important to keep your sights on where you want to go. Eyes up!

2. Get some speed for the obstacles, then you’ll flow right over them!

Going over rocks, roots, and bumps are harder on the way up because you’re going slow. Once you get stronger, you’ll be able to go faster and roll right over the obstacles. No need to go crazy, but momentum keeps the flow going. You won’t even notice the little problems (bumps) along the way because your momentum will carry you over them easily. Same in life. If you’re not taking much action toward your goal, the problems seem insurmountable. Once you start taking action, you get stronger, and those little bumps aren’t a big deal anymore. You know you’re strong enough to handle them.

3. You’ve got to work a little at first to enjoy the fun that comes next! 

When we first attempt any kind of incline with our boys, we get a fair amount of whining. (I’ll admit, when I first started biking, I whined just as much. Who enjoys biking up hills? My husband. 😬) Whining doesn’t help get you to the top, so I do my best to cheerfully get my kids to change their perspective. It’s not that you have to work yourself into the ground by working hard, but there’s always hard stuff! You’ve got to pedal those legs, take action, and make the uncomfortable stuff part of the fun. It makes you stronger and you learn to enjoy the entire journey, not just the endpoint.

Sometimes when we achieve goals it feels anticlimactic. We don’t take time to celebrate the achievement; it’s on to the next thing. If you enjoy the whole ride of life, not just the easy stuff or the successes, then you honor the whole experience. You celebrate, learn, and enjoy the whole trip. What journey are you on right now that you could celebrate more? Maybe grab a bike, go for a ride, and think about it!