Your Bike Is Calling Your Name

You know the bike that’s in your garage? Yeah, you know the one. It’s the one that’s hanging upside down and taunting you every time you park your vehicle. Well, it’s summer and it’s time to dust that bike off. It’s time to sit down and RIDE!

I know the concerns you have because I have them too. I got my very first road bike for my birthday last October and it promptly snowed. Was I secretly thankful? Maybe. All winter my bike was there reminding me that when it finally did warm up I was likely to be flat on my back at the first stop if I forgot about those clipless pedals. It was reminding me that either the right brake or the left brake was the better one to use on a steep downhill grade. Which one was it though? How about those gears… all of them! Would I ever really figure them out? Let’s not forget traffic! Yikes! Vehicles zooming by and I don’t know the hand signals and what if drivers are texting and never even see me until…

Yes. There are a lot of “what ifs.”

There are also just as many “so whats!”

I would never figure it out if I never got on my bike. The same goes for you.

So here it is… an invitation from your two-wheeled friend.

Invitation From Your Bike

Find A Buddy. I started talking about wanting to ride my new bike and suddenly I found a lot of people who were also putting off riding. My neighbor Krista hadn’t been on her bike in two years. She was happy to get back on and show me the ropes and I wasn’t too concerned about my complete rookie-ness holding her back. She mapped out a 13-mile ride, which seemed reasonable.

Ride Your Bike. Guess what? Riding 13 miles was much easier than running 13 miles. Even my heart rate monitor agreed. I was impressed by the amazing efficiency of this machine!

Register for an Event. The following week Krista and I scheduled a 26-mile ride, a good distance since I have a triathlon coming up in July with a 26-mile cycling portion. Yes, I registered for a triathlon when I had not yet been on my road bike. Talk about motivation to get cycling. Registering for an event will get you on your bike.

Register for Another Event That Makes A Difference. Later that week, while feeling especially optimistic, I registered for the MS 150, a two-day ride that benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Only after registering did I learn that my team was not planning on riding 150 miles over two days, they were planning on 175 miles over two days (just breathe). Later that week our MS 150 team “Saddle Soar” knocked out a 36-mile ride. I was feeling pretty good, even though I still didn’t have the confidence to drink from my water bottle while actually in motion. When I forgot to start my heart rate monitor I didn’t dare attempt to push that tiny watch button while still cycling. I didn’t know how to change a flat. I was definitely the “weakest link” and I was pleasantly surprised at how supportive everyone was.

Participate in a Supported Ride. Having only three rides under my belt and the MS 150 coming up in a few weeks, I wanted to experience a supported ride and I didn’t have much time. Little Red Riding Hood, an all women ride, had come highly recommended and had been on my calendar, but registration had quickly closed at 3000 participants. Luckily, two days prior to the ride a registration ticket fell into my lap! This ticket was for 58 miles and that felt just about right for my fourth ride.

Ride With People Who Inspire You. The night before Little Red Riding Hood my friend Stephanie said, “You know Rachel, if you can ride 36 miles you can ride 80.” I questioned this philosophy, but Stephanie, who has tackled a number of century rides (that’s 100 miles) and even took on LOTOJA (206 miles in one day), was adamant. “No really, if you can ride 36 miles you can ride 80.” Stephanie and her friend Judy were both planning on riding 80 miles and they were considering 100 miles.

“Ok, I’ll try for 80.” Mostly I didn’t want to commit because… well… what if something hurt… like REALLY hurt. My muscles might cramp up. I might crash. If everything went smoothly I would do 80 miles, and by “smoothly” I meant that I didn’t want to suffer through it and I wasn’t willing to hurt myself.

The weather was perfect. The ride was beautiful! Farmlands, rolling hills, snowcapped mountains, bright blue skies and white fluffy clouds were awe-inspiring. “Wow, this is beautiful! Wow!”

Ride With People Who Inspire You

Around mile 56 I got a flat tire. There were plenty of volunteers in SAG wagons watching for this very thing. Within two minutes a red pick-up truck was by my side and a friendly volunteer changed my flat.

Flat Tire

By the time I arrived at the place where the 80-mile and the 100-mile routes split some interesting logic had been going through my mind. Trust me, four hours on a bike allows for a lot of thinking time. 100 miles suddenly seemed reasonable! Why stop at 80 when I was only 20 miles away from completing my first century?

Somehow it seemed easier to just ride 100 today… and that’s what I did.

My fourth ride. My first century!

I did not wake up on Saturday morning thinking that I was going to ride 100 miles that day. I can honestly say I couldn’t have done it… and sure wouldn’t have done it without Steph and Judy.

Rachel, Steph and Judy

And guess what? I can now start my heart rate monitor while riding, though I still haven’t dared to drink from my water bottle without stopping first.

Can’t you just hear your bike calling your name?


June 09, 2010 at 6:43 pm

You go girl! What’s next?

April (Salisbury8)

June 09, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Rachel! Rachel! Rachel!! You continue to amaze me.. Your an inspiration to us all! I love reading all about your adventures. Way to go!!!!

Lisa (5tal55)

June 10, 2010 at 5:48 am

You ROCK!!!


June 10, 2010 at 5:49 am

I laugh heartily at this post. Why? Because it wasn’t so long ago (less than a year) when a friend of mine called me to say “so I was thinking of entering to be a featured Athlete for Athleta, but I really don’t think of myself as an athlete….. am I?” Yet here you are….. being all athletic and stuff. Being just as inspirational with your athletic achievements as you have been with Signing Time. Go Rachel!!!


June 10, 2010 at 6:31 am

Ok no more excuses, I’ve been waiting to buy my bike. Waiting for what??? I have no idea, so you have once again inspired me to let go of my “someday” and to actually seize the day. I’ll send you a picture of what I get 🙂
Thanks Rachel

Linda de Azevedo

June 10, 2010 at 10:12 am

In my book, you are an athlete like Kei says! My bike is calling my name daily, and I just move it around in my garage to get to the stuff behind it…… carpe diem!

Rachel Coleman

June 10, 2010 at 2:18 pm

If you are looking for a women-only ride check out this list on Cycle & Style (an online women’s cycling mag) They update the list frequently.


June 10, 2010 at 9:25 pm

All I can say is YOU ROCK!! It totally amazes me how you just send your mind thinking in the right direction and you accomplish everything you set out to do! You let NOTHING stand in your way!

Ok, I have a really nice Trek Mountain Bike (I know, different than a street bike) … and it hangs, in my garage, taunting me, just like you said! Maybe I can get on it IF I can figure out a way to attach a HUGE tractor seat instead of that tiny seat that ….OUCH! (not a pretty image) 😉

Ride like the wind my friend!

Brandi Glenn

June 22, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Biking is the best thing my husband and I ever did for ourselves! And if it was not for our friend who was diagnosed with MS we might never have taken it up. But 7 years ago I saw what it was doing for our friend ( who is still riding and doing amazing) and how healthy biking was keeping him I knew I had to try. And our friend was planning on taking a bike trip I didn’t want to miss. For all we knew eventually he might not be able to ride. But several bike trips later we are all riding for our lives and loving it. We try and convert people all the time. I believe mountain bike riding has really made a difference in our friends MS. He is an amazing person and thank him from the bottom of my heart for giving us such a great gift.

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