Some of my friends have been preparing for a bike adventure recently. They're going to ride their bicycles for a little over 100 miles. How awesome! They invited me to go with, but I declined.
Why? I declined because it sounded impossible, hard, intimidating, and unpleasant. Ride a bicycle 100 miles?! Are you crazy? However, they're not riding as fast as they can for 100 miles all in one day. Nope, they're splitting the trip into three days. Thirty-three miles a day may still sound like a lot, but even a leisurely pace on a bike is at least 10 miles an hour. Huh, that would only be a bit under four hours a day actually riding. Also, that's not all at once. They plan to stop for rest and water (and light snacks) a few times each day. The riders are starting early each day to avoid the worst of the heat. They're also taking a Sag Wagon, which is any vehicle along for the trip with the driver able to stop and pick up anybody who just can't pedal anymore for awhile. You know, this is sounding a lot more do-able than I first imagined.
Of course, that's just the trip. They've been preparing for two months. Much of their regular exercise during the past couple of months has been two or three bike rides a week. They started at maybe seven miles in a day, and have gradually increased their distance up to several 25 miles rides and a 40 mile practice ride.
Also, the practice isn't haphazard. Nope, they've studied the science of cycling. They've built on other people's experience and knowledge. They've worked to each develop a steady cadence of pedaling against a steady amount of resistance. They gear up or down to maintain the same amount of resistance. Doing this lets them work the most efficiently, which translates their endurance into maximum distance for minimum effort. There's road safety, and the most experienced ones have taught the rest of the group that, too. (Is it perfectly safe? Nope. Please share the road when you're the driver.)
Finally, just in case you think I'm talking about a group of future Tour De France riders... The group riding includes people in their 40's and a 14 year old who, until starting to ride for practice on a loaned bike, had never been on a bike with gears.
I really respect what they're doing. I still think it will be hot, humid, and at times tough on their trip. It will also be fun, exciting, and challenging. Now I realize that I could have gone with them. I would have enjoyed the camaraderie. It would have been my adventure, too. I keep fit, but I'd be in better shape with a trip to focus and motivate me to exercise more. Most importantly, what seemed like an impossible mission (which I declined to attempt) turns out to be achievable.
So if you should have an opportunity to do something awesome but it seems impossible... consider. Could you take it in smaller pieces? Could you start small and build up in preparation? Could you use other people's knowledge and experience and learn as you go? Could you practice with reasonable safety, learning what you need? Could you be part of a group that helps each other? Maybe it could be your adventure too.
Gregory Hanks has taught community college for upwards of 17 years. He's helped thousands of students achieve more of their potential, write better, and earn their degrees. In 2017, he left a traditional teaching role to help more people like you get better results, faster.
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