Sorry, was busy over the Easter Weekend, so we missed the 15-week countdown to IC blog post. There’s only 14 weeks left – can’t believe it’s going by so fast!
One of the exercises the Team Canada women had to do in March was create measurable goals for themselves based on our 10 Team Values. Future blog posts will give updates on my goals, but today I’ll focus about one specifically:
Team Value #2: Show Commitment
Cycle to work every day for the month of May.
Cycling. Even just saying the word made me shudder. Remember when you were a kid and stopped suddenly, fell off your seat, and landed straight onto the frame of your bike? That’s essentially the feeling I got when mentioning the word “cycling” (just for the record, yes, that hurts both boys and girls)!
Why the heck did would I ever make a goal about cycling? I hated cycling! I had no interest in cycling! I’ve seen drivers in downtown Toronto and there is no way I would even think of sharing the road with them on a lazy Sunday afternoon let alone in rush hour traffic! You get sweaty, you get sticky, you get helmet hair, your butt hurts, you get wicked wedgies, you get hit with side mirrors, you get thrown off your bike by car doors, your tires get stuck in street car tracks, your tires get stuck in catch basins, you will fall off your bike, your bike is eventually going to be stolen… the list kept piling up as to why cycling was not for me. All of the aforementioned reasons compounded with the fact I hadn’t really ridden a bike in over 10 years, had no clue as to how to even ride a bike on the road, and how to use those stupid hand signals, really did not inspire me to cycle at all.
When I thought of cycling, I immediately pictured this:
Why the heck would I ever make a goal about cycling with all these negative thoughts and images???? (…Nice pink plaid by the way…)
…Well, it would be the ultimate challenge. Embrace something you absolutely hate and fear, and turn it into something positive! It was going to be a change of mindset, something I feel people need to do more often.
So, I took the big plunge and decided to start cycling. *GASP!*
To start my journey it was incredibly nerve-wracking. I was frequently on Kijiji and Craigslist trying to find the best deal on a bike. Problem was – I didn’t even know there were so many bike types and styles! I was just used to the old mountain bike… but I found out there’s a cruiser, road, off-road, mountain, single-speeds, and even some bikes that move forward while you pedal backwards! MINDBLOWING. A work colleague bumped me in the right direction for the perfect bike for me – a Giant Dash 3 – a solid women’s road bike (he grimaced as I told him I liked it because the colours were pretty). I lucked out and got an amazing deal on the bike, but then I had to find all the fun mandatory accessories that go with it – front and rear bike lights, lock, and helmet – which again was another anxiety-ridden process, since I didn’t know anything about those things.
With all the necessary components, I was ready to start my journey. Kind of. I was really nervous to ride down the streets of Downtown Toronto but somehow swindled Steve into “practicing” with me on a Sunday night. We rode down the exact route I was going to take the next morning. Talk about anxiety and adrenaline! In the end I survived, but was still nervous as to what rush hour traffic in downtown Toronto would hold.
The next morning Steve escorted me to work again and I started to feel more comfortable. However, the true test would be the evening ride home when I would have to do it all by myself… and guess what!? I MADE IT! WITH PROPER HAND SIGNALS AND EVERYTHING! What a sense of accomplishment (and the helmet hair wasn’t even that bad)!
Since April 14, I have been riding to work every day in order to prepare myself to achieve my May goal. When I wrote my goal, I wasn’t really thinking about what happens when it is pouring rain outside, but hey, I’ll deal with that when it happens. I mean, I’m a seasoned veteran now!
I’m planning on cycling to as many Thursday Blues trainings as I can anticipate the cross-training benefits. In just a week, my legs are already stronger and I can crank up the resistance and get a mini-workout in to and from work!
Take a look at a short, shaky video of me cycling around Downtown Toronto. On Day 2 my skills were tested, as not only did I have to deal with cars, pedestrians, and other cyclists on the road… I had to deal with HORSES!
My new-found fondness for cycling has also pushed me to sign up with my work’s corporate team for the Becel Heart&Stroke Ride for Heart. On June 1, I plan to bike 50km down a closed Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway (2 of the major freeways in Toronto). Click on the route image to check out my personal page.