When I jumped back into mountain biking a couple of years ago, I bought a new bike with 30 gears. 30 gears! That sounds awesome. 3 gears in the front and 10 in the back.
Large front cog and small in the back = more torque (harder to pedal). Small in the front, large in the back = less torque (easy to pedal).
The easiest gear is often referred to as ‘granny gear’. It’s usually used for tough hills. I might have to pedal 20 revolutions instead of 1 to go the same distance but it’s 20 times easier. Someone smarter than me will tell me that my math is off here. That’s OK. This isn’t a post on bicycling or physics.
In addition, bike brakes have become much better. Super disc, 4 piston, hydraulic, stop on a dime, and other fancy words. This comes in handy when one of these is in the middle of the trail.
The gear (effort):
When we choose the ‘granny gear’, is usually because it’s an intimidating hill ahead. ‘Granny’ makes it easier. There is a challenge ahead. Maybe we are coming back from time away. Maybe we are out of practice. Maybe we don’t want to push ourselves. Maybe we are afraid that harder gear won’t allow us to make our goal. Maybe we’ll fail. Maybe others will see.
We don’t get stronger by choosing the easiest gear.
The brakes (fear):
Going downhill, it’s scary. Maybe we can’t see that far ahead. Maybe there’s danger. Maybe we’ll crash. Maybe we’ll fall. Maybe others will see. Maybe we will have to dust ourselves off. It’s easy to slow the momentum. Just pull the lever. We can even choose to stop.
No one has ever had a rush by applying the brakes. It’s not fun to slow down.
The path (explore):
It’s also easy to take the path most traveled. If we go the same way, it will be familiar.Here is a reason not to travel familiar territory but this post isn’t about car accidents either. We have seen all of this before.
We won’t find something new and exciting and beautiful if we are on the same trail, road, path, or routine. Maybe we need to jump into unfamiliar territory and disrupt our habits.
Maybe we need to:
– practice in a harder gear. Give ourselves fewer options.
– push ourselves a little further up that hill each day until we conquer it, and then find a harder hill.
– find new ways and different destinations.
– let go of the brakes (excuses) and just enjoy the ride. If we use them too much now, they may be worn out when we need them.
Have the courage to get stronger. Have the courage to feel the rush. Have the courage to blast through the rough patches when the path gets rocky. Have the courage to help others draft behind us. Have the courage to give others the courage to let go. Have the courage to find new paths and new destinations. It’s awesome out there.
Side note on gears:
Big cog front, small rear = harder
Big cog rear, small front = easier
That’s been explained to me countless times. I understand it for 2 minutes and then I don’t understand it again. I now have 11 speeds with only 1 in front so I don’t have to make my brain hurt with that mystery.