the power of balance

I crashed my bike the other day. Maybe at nearly sixty it’s time to stop jumping curbs at high speed. I scraped my leg up a bit, washed it at Mcdonald’s then rode over to Target and bought some hydrogen peroxide and poured a couple doses over the cuts. The feeling one gets when they pour the hydrogen peroxide into an open cut is a tax. My family calls it stupid-tax, the price we pay for doing something dumb. Still after the taxes were paid, my friend and I rode forty miles at the lovely Indiana Dunes Park.

We started at the Calumet trail, and rode through mud and puddles and ruts until we could cut toward the lake.

mud in Indiana on the Calumet Trail

mud in Indiana on the Calumet Trail

As my wheel spun and surfed I tensed, grasped the bars tightly and nearly caused additional crashes. I had lost faith in my balance. It made me tense, reluctant to savor the moment for whatever good or ill it might bring. I think that when we lose our faith in our balance, we begin to shrink. We don’t dare much, and our world becomes confined to a smaller and smaller environment we trust. On my bicycle I was doing it, shrinking my enjoyment of the moment.

Emotionally we can lose our balance. The world becomes a fearful place where trust is foreign. We shape ourselves by fear and slowly, slowly disappear into a safe but empty place.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We can crash and still ride on. We can strengthen our balance and trust it. New roads lead to surprises, even on a bicycle.

by Indiana Dunes Park and Lake Michigan

by Indiana Dunes Park and Lake Michigan

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20 Comments on “the power of balance”

  1. This is beautiful, and timely for me, as I recently had a small automobile accident that has left me jumpy and small. I am reminded of horseback riding as a child on the farm, the rule was you get back on as soon as you fall off. If I hadn’t, I might never have ridden again. But here’s the thing, I made an agreement with myself, I allowed myself a moment to feel scared and small and jumpy, because pretending I didn’t wasn’t cutting it. And that space gave me the ability to actually regain my sense of balance.

  2. bert0001 says:

    Great lesson, thx for sharing

  3. Shannon says:

    Love the lake shot. That’s awesome. I can’t wait to make it out for a ride!

  4. Clanmother says:

    Great photo!!! And what a wonderful venue for a bike-ride. I felt the fresh air and sunshine coming through the cables.

  5. “Emotionally we can lose our balance. The world becomes a fearful place where trust is foreign. We shape ourselves by fear and slowly, slowly disappear into a safe but empty place”

    How true this is and so sad. Life is so short, I have decided to embrace it and the people all around me. They will probably think I’m i’m nuts, but hey, so what!

  6. I have been cycling for 12 years and have never had a “crash”. However, I’ve had several “unplanned dismounts” that hurt like crazy!

  7. Great story with amazing analogy and lesson!

    In my family we never poured Peroxide on anything. Just washed it, applied some Polysporin and voila – all done!

  8. Cara Thereon says:

    Another great lesson the settles particularly close. I’ll ponder this.

  9. Eric Alagan says:

    Once bitten – twice brave 🙂

    I’m sure you’ll be biking in no time and taking those calculated risks – we bikers always do

  10. vbholmes says:

    Looking at that trail, it’s no wonder you temporarily lost your balance. From everything I’ve read of yours, Bill–I would wager your sense of balance is still firmly in place (as is your perseverance–those Kung Fu stances in your preceding post are intimidating).

  11. I’m new here, and I love this story. When fear and apprehension creeps in after a crash, isn’t it interesting that just before the crash, neither really existed in any credible way? It’s like when you see a scary movie, then worry about zombies or a crazed neighbor that night – if zombies or crazed neighbors existed, they could have visited the night before, right?

  12. Kristi says:

    This post resonated with me in so many ways. That safe place in life is where many of us live in, I look around and it’s everywhere, that’s the norm, but as you said so well, it’s an empty place to spend to spend our life. Once we lose balance in life or on bike, it’s difficult to enjoy the ride, but I think that during that period we also learn something, find our strength and ditch our fears and ride it anyway, as you did.
    Can’t really tell if it’s the yellow shirt or your face that is brighter on the pic..(btw unconventional of a 60 year old to wear that..but then again you just showed with your story that you’re anything but conventional). Thanks for this post Bill! 😀

  13. susank456 says:

    Great story. I loved the way you worked a life lesson in recalling a bike ride and accident.


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