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Bike Rides 116
7 Habits of a Highly Effective Bike Ride

Author Steven Covey would have been proud because the first paragraph I wrote of this story is positioned at the end and built it backwards from there. Now that’s what I call beginning with the end in mind, habit number two taken from Covey’s trillion selling, self-help book titled, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”.

This was required reading at an office job I had a few years back. I can’t say I ever really embraced or incorporated much of the plan into my own life; I tend to loath self-help trends and perhaps the state of my career is a reflection of this stubbornness (usually referred to as “resisting change” at review time).  

I had a girlfriend who used to get caught up in such pop reading trends and she never did accept that I was, in truth, born on Earth and not Mars. I still take full responsibility for the eventual disintegration of the relationship though, just in case she should read this.

But maybe we’re not all cut out to be highly effective people. Possibly it’s nobler if some aspire to be good rather than just be effective, although those attributes don’t necessarily exclude one another in all cases, certainly they do in some. I think the world is more in need of a few highly good people right now vs. highly effective, but I’m not claiming to be either.

What I am though is a highly effective bicycle rider and it turns out maybe Covey wasn’t, as I sadly learned he died recently at age 79 from injuries sustained during a bicycling accident in April. So I’ve decided to share a little of what I’ve learned from my personal experiences to perhaps enlighten anyone in need of such unsolicited advice. Below you’ll find my 7 habits of a highly effective bicycle ride developed the old fashioned way, through trial and error.

Obviously I never actualized Covey’s habit number two, “Be Proactive”, or I would have published my list before Covey’s untimely demise instead of after. Perhaps a reaction is still better than no action and if I can just save one highly motivated, if even a little clumsy, self-help guru from spanking his Schwinn on the pavement it will have been worth my efforts.

So here goes:

Habit 1:
Do not ride no-handed in the area of Acorn trees. Acorns can roll the front tire away before you can safely bring your hands back to the handlebars.

Habit 2:
Do not hold winter time trials in the basement unless you own a stationary bike. I’ve got permanent dents in my furnace duct work to remind me of this lesson.

Habit 3:
Do not attempt to wash your bike by leaving it on the car-bike rack while passing through the car wash. Unlike a good neighbor, auto insurance will not cover the resulting damage to the washing apparatus either.

Habit 4:
Unless your intention is to lure ducks (you’ve got to love a column that includes both ducks and ducts) into the middle of Main Street, do not carry a loaf of bread on a bicycle with the bag wrapped around the handlebar several times. One bounce into the tire and the force of the wheel pushing the slices into the forks will explode the entire loaf everywhere.

Habit 5:
This one comes courtesy of my neighbor Hank (alright we applied a little Covey “Synergy” here). Don’t drink beer from bottles while riding bicycle unless you look good wearing shards of bloody glass. I hope to goodness this isn’t how Covey went down.

Habit 6:
Do not shoot fireworks from the front of a bike. Always attach fireworks, legal or otherwise, to the rear rack. Up front the draft created from moving will result in a rider being showered with sparks. Don’t be stupid man, for heaven’s sake.

Habit 7
This one is truly from the heart. Learn to enjoy a good bike ride. Don’t obsess with timing, pacing, measurements and competition.  Instead focus on the environment. Stop, look at things, smell them and feel them. Don’t ride the same old route each time you go out. Talk to people, exchange stories, offer assistance to others in need, engage, interact, eat, drink, live, and thrive. Instead of being glad when the ride is over, you may not want to stop. Simply love it is all I’m suggesting. I don’t know why folks keep turning to ratings thirsty TV shows like Dr. Phil for all the latest pop culture and self-help trends, when something as simple as trading in that talk show for an afternoon spin could change their lives in so many ways forever.

Thanks for riding along.
Traffic Tip:  How about chilling with a cool ride in the rare rainfall before you turn that air conditioner on?


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