It’s not very often that I get to ride a bike, something that I am not very good at but love doing. I have probably ridden the bike 5 times in my life. So when I got an opportunity to ride one during my recent trip to Mackinac Island, though I wasn’t sure if I would be able to complete 8 miles on it, I decided to enjoy it completely.
The 8 miles ride around the island was one of the most philosophical rides I have ever had. Well, you could ask me, ‘What is so philosophical about a simple bike ride?’. As I was slowly pedaling away and riding behind my gang of friends on that narrow path, many thoughts crossed my mind and gave me a fresh perspective of life.
Every time I ride a bike, I am a little perturbed. Not because I might fall, but that I might crash into someone next to me. So when we rented our bikes, I was not sure if I was going to complete the 8 miles around the island on a crowded road. But what’s life without challenges. Despite the cold wind, I began sweating the minute I pushed the pedal. One pedal push at a time, the bike started moving and I was completely drawn into the breathtaking view of Lake Huron. With the road by the shore of the lake and the breeze against my face, I realized that it just takes a push to overcome something seemingly difficult and relish something beautiful.
The road was crowded. Well, what can we expect of bright summer day, on one of the most popular vacationing spots. All of us had to be cautious and watch out for pedestrians and children on bikes. I was extra careful and riding slowly, stopping every now and then when I thought there were many bikers very close to me. Every few minutes my anxiety levels rose with steep roads, blind curves and narrow sections of the road. With the fast bikers on my left and the lake on my right, I knew I was performing a balancing act on the edge of the road. The fast bikers on my left were scaring me and despite the beauty the calm waters of the lake on my right were frightening too. What chance do I have against the huge, cold lake if I fall into it right through the rock bed? But I kept going with no damage to myself or those around me. Isn’t life all about a balancing act?
For a mile or two, I did ride the tandem bike with Ganesh. Sitting behind him and shunning the major responsibility of guiding the bike, I managed to get a complete view of the lake and its expanse. I could also enjoy the breeze against my face with my eyes closed. It felt like an irony that I could not experience those moments completely when I was riding my bike. I stopped to think how many such moments I was missing in my journey of life where I had complete freedom.
As I completed the 6th mile, 7th mile and finally the 8th mile, I had a great sense of achievement. Of course I had my share of challenges. Of course I had few roadblocks. Of course I had my fears. Of course I had Ganesh beside me every time I stopped to regain my composure. But when I got off the bike, I reflected on those few hours on my bike. I realized that the endorphin-rush at that moment was not because I completed the ride, but because of the exciting journey I had embarked to reach my destination.
Well, don’t they say that it not always about the destination but about the journey!!!