Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bicycles, missed appointments, and habits

I drove my car to an appointment today.

That might not seem noteworthy as I am a member of a way of life that has been known to drive from the bedroom to kitchen. An explanation is therefore in order.

Five years ago, I determined a bicycle would help in my unrelenting quest to lose "those last 10 pounds." I purchased a bright green, shiny, "commuter bike:" just the ticket for errands, short trips - and looking way-righteously cool. With inner child at full throttle, I straddled my 24-speed cycle with headlight, rear LED, bike rack, and "computer" - which, in reality, is a "speedometer on steroids" that cycling folks refer to as a "computer." (Who am I to argue?) Strapping on matching green helmet and bike gloves, I tightened my backpack, adjusted my side mirror, and pedaled away - simply to collapse, exhausted, a mile from home. Remind me again whose bright idea this was.

Each subsequent pedaling opportunity was overruled by geographic or meteorological concerns. In Humboldt County, if one excludes riding in hills, wind, or rain, let's face it; you stay home.

So, after much soul searching (and two more pounds), I ventured into the asphalt wilds for one brief ride. A few blocks one day, more on another, soon I'm across town. Wind? Gear down. Hills? Stand up. For rainy days, I bought yellow raingear (added bonus: look like a banana slug on wheels). Before one could utter, "derailleur," most short outings were via bicycle; soon becoming second nature. Lance Armstrong's record is safe - but big-wheeled, plastic trikes quite often eat my dust.

Back to today: When my faithful two-wheel steed broke, I was disoriented. I had an appointment and no way to get there - until I remembered I still possess a car. From inventing excuses to drive, to forgetting I even owned an auto - there's your lightning bolt moment.

Isn't that the way it is with habits? They begin so small, initially difficult, then awkward, then you. Actions requiring so much energy at their onset evolve into activities unnoticed, as invisible as the thoughts that guide them. One moment. One month. One lifetime, it all blends. Go slowly; just keep moving. You'll get there.

Oh yeah, I fixed my bike. I ride again tomorrow, feels awkward when I don't.

About the author: Scott "Q" Marcus, THINspirational speaker, lost 70 pounds 11 years ago, and conducts presentations on goal setting, attitude, and health throughout the country. He will be conducting a public seminar, "Striving for Imprefection" in Eureka on October 26 and can be reached at 707.442.6243 or

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