Do the thing is an expression my friends and I often use when egging each other (and ourselves) to push boundaries. Like them (and many of the contributors to this blog) I overthink things to the point I chicken out.
This year, I had four cycling goals. One was to bike out to visit my parents, 25 km away. That would be a significant distance increase for me, and there are some scary 80 km/hour roads where everyone speeds – I was not convinced that Google was telling the truth about their rideability. It was mid-September. Time was running out.
On Saturday I had plans to join the Critical Mass Ride in downtown Ottawa, followed by a potluck for Bike Ottawa members in a park. The park is almost half-way to my parents’ house, and going home so I could drive there would take as long as biking directly. Getting home was an entirely different matter and I chose not to think too much about it.
I packed some extra snacks, water and my cycling shorts just in case I decided to do the thing. And my bus pass in case I decided that I couldn’t bike all the way home. When the potluck broke up, folks started planning to go on a 15 km ride that would largely follow my route home. I knew I could easily do that ride. Google told me that it was exactly the same distance as to my parents’ house. Time to stop thinking about it and just do the thing.
I did the thing!
I even did the thing going back home. It took an hour and 25 minutes on the return ride. That’s triple the fastest car ride, but way more fun. How often do you have complete strangers chat with you at a crosswalk when you’re in a car? How often do you notice an entire flock of turkeys on someone’s lawn (and can safely stop for a photo)?
I have written before about how riding a bike has made the world both bigger and smaller. I have new experiences, but also learn that things aren’t nearly as far away as they had seemed.
I rode 65 km, something I haven’t done in over 40 years. The roads I was afraid of turned out to have nice wide shoulders most of the way. I feel pretty darned good and I am confident about doing that ride again whenever the weather is nice.
Whatever your big fitness, health or life goal may be, do the thing! You might be pleasantly surprised at how great it feels.