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  • Mary Foley

What Cycling Taught Me About Staying Strong During the Pandemic

Staying strong during the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been easy for anyone. What I never anticipated is how much a metal frame with wheels would become my cycologist.

You see, not long ago I moved to a new home next to a 50-mile bike trail. I knew I wanted to get a new bike and start riding again after nearly 20 years. Nearly 700 hundred miles later, here’s what I now know more than ever:

1. You gotta get OUT!

To shift your mindset and keep feeling positive, you have to leave your usual four walls. It’s the easiest, most immediate way to see your world differently.

When I got outside and rode the trail, I temporarily left behind my home office, my bedroom, my kitchen, and everything else in my home. On my bike I had surroundings which were new and stimulating. I saw houses, open fields, treetops, and big sky. Nature’s spring became my spring. The renewal renewed me.

2. Start pedaling

No way around it. To bike you gotta make the wheels go round. Just start and see what happens.

I had no idea how far or long I could bike. Or if I would enjoy it. There was only one way to find out: start pedaling.

The biggest surprise is how my inner teenager showed up! I was simply having fun – and at times felt like goofy like a 16-year-old. That explains a lot of my selfies!

Our bodies are designed to release feel good endorphins when we move our bodies. Use that to your advantage.

3. Have a biking buddy (or 2!)

Truth be told, I may have delayed getting out on the trail had it not been for my two biking buddies. Making a date to ride was making a commitment that helped each of us follow-through.

Especially the time when I was out way too late the night before! I couldn’t let my buddies down…even if it meant riding 40 miles on my heavy Schwinn hybrid! (Let’s call that my “training” bike. Now I have a much lighter aluminum road bike, which make my legs a lot happier.)

Whether for your personal life or your business, find a friend or join a group of people who have the same desires and goals you do. Especially in challenging times, riding solo is a setup for being sidelined.

4. Make it an adventure

When we rode, we mixed it up so we could experience different parts of the 50 mile trail. That made it an exciting adventure. And, yes, sometimes “exciting” meant figuring out an unexpected speed bump. But that was a ton easier with biking buddies.

Instead of focusing on the challenge of the unknown or if we could make it another 5 miles, we focused on what good things we could experience. And then, months before we thought we could be ready, we rode the entire trail of 50 miles after only two months of biking together!

Months into the pandemic it’s easy to continue to flood your mind with fear and dread about the uncertainty and continued challenges. What if you thought of it as an adventure instead? An adventure to explore new things, to build your resilience and to do things you didn’t think were possible just a short time ago.



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