We decided to go for a ride yesterday afternoon and when drumming up an idea for a destination we chose the library. It was a great ride. Cloud cover means a breeze that is actually cool.

We hooked up the stroller, filled water bottles, and set out.

The library has an awesome corral and we’re often not the only bikes parked there. There was one other bicycle there but it was parked by itself off on the side.

I rode 8.3 miles the night before. I was in a hurry to lend a hand to a friend so close to my heart she’s a sister. I pushed hard. I needed to get there. I pedaled and pedaled and pedaled. And thus, I was sore yesterday. I’m actually still quite sore today. My go-to remedy for sore muscles is Arnica montana, a homeopathic topical gel that soothes and heals, just fyi.

While I had promised Josh that he could ride his Bianchi the next time we took a family trip, he willingly and graciously rode the Yuba and I lovingly took to my Cannondale. Another 7.9 mi on my odometer.

It was about this time last year that we started discussing the possibility of a car-free lifestyle. So I took out my bike and rode it a bit. The very first “big” ride I took was, you guessed it, to the library. I remember it was a rather grueling ride. I felt constrained by traffic and my own unmet expectations. I had had no idea how out of shape I was and how little I knew abo.

Yesterday, I took the opportunity to notice my progress and acknowledge myself for it. Perhaps because I was already sore to begin. But cresting a small hill, I remembered when it would leave me completely winded. Midway through a long but steady incline, I remembered having to stop just at that bend, for breath and water. And on and on and on it went. Always uphill, each memory in a different location, I remembered being unable to push on through.

I noticed a shift not only in my physical experience (that my time and pace are more consistent and I haven’t been winded to the point of stopping in a long, long while). It’s a shift in my overall experience.

My route is different. Knowing what I know now, I would never, ever, ever take the route I first took to the library. That ride wasted energy in elevation loss and unnecessary tenths of a mile. I rode the way I would have driven. I have learned so much about the terrain in my neighborhood.

I’ve learned even more about my bike’s performance and MY performance. I’ve learned to trust myself in the saddle. I know that, back then, I did not give myself enough credit for my capabilities. I also know that when we sold our car in January, I was in the worst shape I’ve ever been in my life. And while I may not have lost much weight since then, and I’m not much smaller than I was then, I am so much stronger now. More determined.

I feel capable of riding anywhere I want to go. And I understand that some trips will take me longer than others. And some days I’m going to feel like I’ve never ridden a bicycle before and I just can’t do it. And that’s ok. Because those feelings are not the truth. I have already overcome many negative thoughts on this journey. I’m certain there are many more out there.

My only current plan is to continue trailblazing. “…Trudging the road of happy destiny…”