10 Jan The Beauty Of Going Slow
The Beauty Of Slow
What’s your least favorite body part? Do you love your arms but hate your back? Do you love your legs but hate your tummy? Well I never liked the way my legs looked so one day in the winter of 2004 I decided to do something about it. Running wasn’t really an option since I can’t stand running and I always used the excuse that it’s not good for my joints. The only other activity that I thought would be good for getting my legs in better shape was cycling.
A few years earlier my husband and I bought a very old house. In the basement we discovered an old Bianchi stationary bike the previous owner had left behind. It was probably an antique!
I hauled it up out of the basement and started riding in the living room so I could watch TV while I pedaled. This was wintertime in VT mind you so riding outside wasn’t an option.
Well, that old Bianchi had an odometer on it and I kept track of my miles. It was very rewarding to see it go past 1 mile and then 2.
When springtime rolled around one of my boys suggested that I get a “real” bike and get outside and I did! Each time I went out for a ride I’d keep track of my mileage. Each ride I felt more challenged to see how far I could go. I would increase the distance each ride and was always motivated by distance never speed. I am still a slower rider compared to many of my friends. And this is how my love affair with cycling was born!
When we moved to the Verde Valley in 2007 I thought it would be a great time to change careers and I thought I’d look for a job as a guide with a bicycle tour company. The way I looked at it I could be doing what I love every day and never get tired of it! As I quickly discovered no road bike tour company existed I fell back on my years as a dental assistant and found work with a dentist.
Being new to the area, I wasn’t familiar with the area roads and I felt hesitant to go out on my bike alone. Then I discovered a wonderful group of cyclists that go out every Friday morning for a social ride. These folks were a godsend! I was able to gain confidence around town as well as people to socialize with. The best thing about riding with a group is that we all love cycling! We always have great conversations along the way and yes we’ve solved the worlds problems many times over. As time allowed, I was able to join my new friends for longer group rides, eventually riding all the way to Sedona from Cottonwood, a total of more than 30 miles round trip. I never thought I’d be able to ride up the big hill by the high school but with the encouragement of dear man I made it! Conquering this distance and elevation gain challenged me to go further and so I signed up to ride with a tour group out of Scottsdale from Scottsdale all the way to Picacho Peak SP, almost 100 miles in one day! I did it even though I thought I’d die and wanted to from time to time. Again a sweet friend stayed by my side and made sure I didn’t give up. My love of long-distance cycling was cemented. I continue to ride with my Friday friends when time allows.
After a great career as a dental assistant for 27 years my discontent with dentistry, and my painful hands, became too much. And so, in 2013 I started my own road bike tour company! Self Propelled Tours Sedona was born. I love sharing the magic of Sedona with my guests from the seat of a bicycle! My goal was to offer leisurely, scenic bike tours so people could really get a better feel for Sedona than they can get riding in a car and cover more ground than hiking.
The Beauty Of Slow
And now we get to the beauty of going slow. When you go slow you see things you may have missed zooming right by. You smell things, you feel things. Your senses come alive to the world around you. When I’m on my bike I’m in my own world. I can get inside my own head or just tune the world out. As a dear friend said, “ my bike is my physician and my shrink”. I can add another title to that, “my church”. When I’m cycling along the roads of Sedona I feel closer to the creator than at any other time. The blessing of being physically able to ride my bike and live here in our glorious Red Rock Country is something I am grateful for every day. It’s when we take the time to slow down and breath that the universe can really speak to us. We are truly able to hear our inner voice and be inspired to do great things or just become grounded again when life has gotten in the way. Being outdoors and truly a part of nature while propelling myself along our beautiful roads brings me joy!
My purpose in sharing my story with you is this – I want to strongly encourage women of any age to get on a bike and start pedaling! I am now in my late 50’s and I’ve never been in better shape. Cycling is not only a great way to excerise, it is a great way to meet new people and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. Being challenged to ride long distances on my bike and actually doing it has taught me that I can do what I never dreamed possible and that has changed every area of my life. I now consider myself an experienced cyclist and I’m always up for a new challenge.
I still don’t love the way my legs look, but you know what, my legs are strong. They have propelled me and my bike many, many miles for many hours with wonderful friends enjoying the beautiful scenery very mile of the way. Cycling has changed my life in only very positive ways. So now I’m going to encourage each and every one of you to dust off your bike, make sure it’s in good working condition and get outside and pedal! It’s good for your lungs, legs and the environment. And above all it’s good for your heart!