Many indulge in the sort of magical thinking that goes I will do the thing I have never done, not because I have a plan, but because I have a resolution.
And some aren’t so much a resolution as a vain hope that a previously unknown but greatly beloved aunt will die and leave her copper-mine millions to a person who once thought Cabbage Patch dolls were unbeatable investments.
What, that didn’t work out? Well, tickle me fricking Elmo.
Nonetheless, with the new year fast approaching, it’s safe to say that millions of people are sincerely seeking greater balance in their lives.
Here again, for the vast majority, I have no hope to offer, no advice to share. Mine, after all, is a self-propelled strategy that is meaningless to those who believe that balance can be achieved without sweat.
True balance means different things to different folks of course. For some, balance is metabolic: reaching the sweet spot where calories consumed are equal to (or inferior to) one’s propensity to expend those same calories.
For others, balance is temporal: increasing the amount of time available for non-work pursuits (like bicycling) by spending their time at work a bit more efficiently.
Here’s the good news: In that they remain upright, people who ride bicycles have already achieved a certain amount of balance. The proof is in the pedaling. And yet improvement awheel is always possible.
People on bicycles can draw on well over a century of advice to improve their efficiency and comfort on the ride. And the best of that advice is as simple as the machine that inspired it.
To build endurance, ride farther. To build speed, ride faster. To improve one’s patience, ride with someone slower. To improve one’s humility, ride with someone faster.
Some of the best-known maxims include 1) maintain a steady pace, 2) keep rest stops short, 3) eat before you are hungry, and 4) drink before you are thirsty.
But what I’d like to mention is one of the least well-known suggestions, which is 5) ride a teeter-totter whenever you can.
Now that last one may be less known because I just made it up and you’re the first to read it. Or it may be that bicyclists don’t take kindly to the idea that if hills do not exist, they must be created.
All I’ll say is that while a teeter-totter has its ups and downs, it’s a great way to pass the time during a short rest stop—at least when it’s not too windy.
Happy New Year from 16incheswestofpeoria.