You would have been hard pressed to convince me of that this morning though, as I took my shiny new road bike on its maiden voyage. Yep, after twenty-four years of riding the same bike, I finally upgraded my Buick to a Maserati (okay, maybe a turbo Beetle).
Why did it take me so long to buy a new bike? Well, first of all they cost as much as a used car. Second, there are so many choices, it makes your head spin trying to figure out which one to buy. And third, even though my old bike was heavy and merely equipped with twelve gears, I knew it inside out and backward.
I knew exactly when I needed to shift gears, get out the saddle, or lean into a curve. And I knew every quirk about it. I may have moaned as I cranked up hills, but in reality, I was comfortable with this old beast of a friend, I called Betty. She had carried me through numerous recreational rides and races, several triathlons, and a mountain of leisurely spins.
But last weekend after I finished a long training ride with a fun group of women, I noticed when I loaded Betty up in my van to head home that she had a flat tire.
Somehow this spectacular day of traversing some of Santa Barbara’s most scenic and challenging roads seemed the perfect ending to Betty’s long, illustrious career.
It’s then I decided to retire her and say, “So long, dear friend…”
…and “HELLO LUCY!” Woohoo!
As I was flying along today, grinning from ear to ear on my new ride, I knew for sure Lucy was going to turn me into the next Lance-olita Armstrong.
Yeah, baby, look out Tour de France!
But then, after about twenty-five miles my legs started to feel heavy, and my back and triceps started to feel like…well, let’s just say…like they weren’t twenty years old anymore.
Wait a second! That’s not supposed to happen. Do you hear that, Lucy?
Okay, okay, I guess I have to admit what I already know: it really isn’t about the bike.
It’s about the person riding the bike. And it’s about the hard work that still needs to be done—the five bazillion squats, lunges and core exercises I still need to do to get into the shape I’d like to be in again. The hills. The hours in the saddle. The discipline. The focus.
It’s the same thing with writing. We may think we’ll be better writers once we have the perfect writing space or when we get the latest computer upgrade, or perhaps when our websites are all snazzed out (or just up and running), but when it comes down to it, it’s not about any of that.
It’s about our thoughts, our creativity, focus, and discipline. It’s about working our tails off to make it happen. It’s about hours in the proverbial saddle, cranking out words and thoughts, like pedals cranking out miles on the road. It’s about commitment, and most of all, it’s about not finding excuses.
My new bike isn’t going to magically turn me into the next Lance Armstrong (or anything remotely close), nor is anything else going to turn me into the next Harper Lee.
Nothing, that is, except for hard work.