aging · cycling · fitness

And whoosh, I am carried forward! on needing and getting a throttle (guest post)

Dear readers, I’m delighted to share with you one of my favorite posts by one of my favorite bloggers, Coach Aruni.  I took her mindfulness in eating course at Kripalu in western Massachusetts, and she gave me some tools for thinking differently about body image, self-acceptance, self-love and eating in more satisfying ways (to me).

This re-post from her newsletter and link to her blog is about bikes, e-bikes, and the joy and freedom of movement on two wheels. Enjoy!

Aruni and friend, small kids with big bikes and big adventures in mind.
Aruni and friend, small kids with big bikes and big adventures in mind.

Biking was freedom. As I kid, I couldn’t get home from my school, John James Audubon #42, fast enough to shed my school clothes and wiggle into my play clothes. Dragging my bike out of the cellar, up into the back yard, awkwardly sprinting with it through the narrow walkway separating our house from Mrs. Eisner’s next door, with the two sitting lions guarding her entry, onto the street, Arthur Avenue, and whoosh, into Nay Aug Park, across from our house. I would lose myself in the spiraling bumpy paved paths there, biking and weaving and pretending I was a Royal Canadian Mountie, out to save the beautiful damsel in distress. (It was my era of Sargent King of the Yukon—I was infatuated with the uniform.) School, it’s stressors, my aloneness, my stuttering, all faded as I biked onward, peddling toward glory and that well-earned kiss.

As childhood passed, my biking receded, as did my obsession with the uniform of the Royal Canadian Mounties. Time and life went by. It all changed.

However, once in the ashram, biking had its resurgence. We were an active lot back then and my then- fantasy-crush, my now-wife-of-decades, was one of the most active of all us “sisters”. Biking, hiking, swimming, we were committed to the unity of body, mind, and spirt. The Berkshire Hills were not daunting for me; fueled by sisterhood, spiritual longing, carnal lust, and a plain, ordinary desire to fit in, I biked and biked on.

While courting and married, biking continued its role as primary activity in our burgeoning family life, the hub of vacations, amazing day trips, great adventures big and small. This continued for a long while, years upon years, until it didn’t.

It all changed. Why does it shock me when things change? Everything always does.

My wife hurt her knee. I tried biking that first summer without her. It didn’t stick; I missed walking the dogs and being in the family unit. Solo-pleasure seemed unwarranted, undeserved. A few more bike-less summers passed. I got older and slower, with less energy. I hurt my shoulder. We got a new president. I gained weight. Blah-blah. And blah. Not only was there no biking, there didn’t live in me the willingness to take the risk and get out of there and try. I knew I was no longer able to—to what? To get up the hills? To feel that free in my body? To relax into that level of bliss?

The Berkshires Hills were now, for me at sixty-eight, truly daunting.

Until Boomer. Who is Boomer, you might wonder? Boomer is my one-month-old bike-friend, my new e-bike. E stands for electric; she, unlike me, is fueled by a battery. When I need the assist in moving forward, in getting up the hill, both literal and metaphoric, I put slight pressure on the throttle, and WOOSH, I am carried forward.

I now have a throttle. I didn’t even know that I needed one. A friend initiated me into the world of the e-bike. I had no clue about my need or any potential response or solution.

Realizing I now have an externally provided throttle is my fighting back against aging, giving my middle finger to mortality; nothing can stop me now. I’ve had a profound month, biking around, getting use to Boomer’s larger, stockier frame and relaxing into my relationship to that amazing apparatus, the throttle. Initially I had some shame; some still lingers. She’s so Cute, that bike, so fancy and upscale. Shouldn’t I be able to do It all myself? Obviously, the answer is simple. No. I need help.

I can ask for help. Clearly, I need it. I didn’t realize how vulnerable and tentative I have felt, so distant from accessing the energy of moving up the hills of my life. But now, there is a throttle. As I engage it, support is right there, at my fingertips.

Why is it so hard to acknowledge change? How come asking for help often doesn’t even exist on our radar? What strategies can we use to imagine creating support, manifesting an “external throttle” to get up the steep slopes of our lives? Please come on over to this week’s blog as we explore this arena of life. At the blog, too, you’ll find a of picture of Boomer and me in our new partnership, sixty years after the above picture of me in the land of Biking Bliss, 1956. I also will post a snap from this morning’s glorious Berkshire ride. (here it is!)

Aruni and Boomer, a big red bike and her new two-wheeled partner in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.
Aruni and Boomer, a big red bike and her new two-wheeled partner in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.


Aruni is a writer, teacher/facilitator, and life coach. You can read more about her and from her on her blog here.