Monday, June 14, 2010

Solo Bike Rides and Coffee with Seniors

Before I even begin, I realize what I'm about to mention might sound silly or stupid to most people. Mostly, it's just something people wouldn't understand and that's perfectly ok; it's my own personal "victory" and that's what matters.

For months now, I've been completely fearful of going out on my bike alone. Knowing nothing about changing flats or fixing a dropped chain, etc, has only added to my main insecurities of the clipless pedals and it's prevented me from getting out there since last summer. I've sat and stared at my beautiful bike countless times and thought about how badly I want to conquer my fear of those darn pedals. But...fear can be paralyzing and that is just what it's been for me. Earlier last week, I committed myself to doing a ride with NY Cycle Club for the first time and I was equally excited and nervous. However, much to my dismay, the gal I emailed got back to me and told me Saturday's ride was for members only. I was actually sad but then I realized how much I was relying on other people, yet again, to help me do something I want to do alone. I used to be this way with running ages ago, too. It's that whole I could never do that! mentality that I've had to work terribly hard to break out of. I actually laugh now when I think of how I used to say that about running! Anyway, come Saturday morning, I decided once and for all that enough is enough - I was getting out on that bike if it killed me. I got dressed in my bike gear, loaded up my lovely chrome bag, strapped on the helmet and headed up to Central Park. I was totally nervous but, once I entered the park, I blocked out all of that crap once and for all. I clipped in and off I went. Guess what? I kicked ass. It took me about two miles before I realized how ridiculous I'd been for so long about getting on my bike! Yes, I'm still shaky with stopping in the clipless pedals but what's the worst that could happen? I fall over? Um, been there done that. So, really it's just been ME, yet again, convincing myself that I can't do something. I did a short 15 miles to get adjusted and I am hooked. I loved every second of being on the bike and my fear is totally and completely gone. As I was coming down one of the hills, I got choked up and thanked god for his provision and promise to deliver us from anything we ask, including fear. It was an awesome moment of realization for me that I absolutely CAN do whatever it is I put my mind to; I'm done telling myself I "can't". It's been a stronghold in my life that's hindered me for so long and I'm breaking free from it, once and for all. It surely gives Philippians 4:13 a whole new meaning. ;) I cannot wait to get back out there and I'm super excited to ride with NY Cycle Club the next free Saturday I have! Shouldn't life always be about the small victories? I think so.

On Sunday after church, I had another "first" when I headed up to Washington Heights to do my first NY Cares volunteer project. They have a partnership with the organization, Selfhelp, which is a wonderful program for seniors that incorporates helping them live on their own with socializing events that keep them "active". Sunday's project was a "coffeehouse" which is a time for a group of 60 or so seniors to come out in the afternoon, hear some music, and fellowship over cookies and coffee. It's a way for them to get out of the house and spend time with each other and volunteers like me. The twist is that this particular project is for seniors that are survivors of Nazi Germany in some form. Some were in concentration camps, others had family members killed...just many stories of pain that a lot of these people still feel presently. As volunteers, we were there to help set up and clean up but also to mingle and talk with the folks who were willing. I sat with the most wonderful German woman, Trudy, who was spared her life yet kicked out of Germany during the 40's. She actually got tears in her eyes talking about it, even today. I absolutely loved talking to her and hearing her tell me of travels to Switzerland and how she loved the mountains and snow there...I mean, she moved me, honestly. It was definitely an interesting experience because a lot of the people were cold, but I would definitely do this project again, even just to see sweet Trudy.

So, the weekend was really great overall and it was capped off by a delicious surprise dinner from Allison. Yep, the baker cooked for the chef and it was excellent! I have a truly wonderful sister and it was a terrific way to round out a very blessed weekend. :) 

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