Paying It Forward

Paying It Forward

I woke up this morning around 643am — just a few minutes before the alarm was to go off.  As I lay there under the sheets and my quilt, I heard a signal of a different sort.  The birds outside — they were chirping and singing.  Not squawking the way they do when they’ve returned from the south juuuust a little too early, and their alarming chatter is present to warn you — stay under the blankets, tuck the quilt a little tighter — it’s COLD out here.  Nope, not today.  The birds were singing– those light, beautiful, melodically spaced chirps — offering notes of encouragement — “It’s safe to come outdoors — it’s NICE today.”  So I knew what needed to happen.  Today was the day.  It was time to open the garage door — and dig out my old friend TREX and bike it to my Weight Watchers Meeting.  Today was going to be NICE.  The birds said so.

I don’t have a fancy bike — it’s a silver Trex City Bike.  My husband Peter got it for me a few years ago, and I really enjoy riding it.  Peter is a Dutchie from the Netherlands, so he knows his bikes.  I just asked him — “Uh hun — what is a City Bike anyway?”    He explained to me that a City Bike is like a mountain bike that has been tooled to suit the urban streets.   The city bike usually features mountain bike-sized wheels, a straight handle bar, a more upright seating position, and fairly wide heavy belted tires designed to shrug off glass and debris found on the road.  My two FAVORITE features of my bike are 1) the wider, comfort triangle saddle and 2) the shock absorbers under the seat.  Ok, so first, let’s be real.  I’ve seen the size of my husband’s saddle.  He has a fancy smancy mountain bike, and the saddle is about a big as my hand, and is as hard as a rock.  If I had to sit on that thing for more than 10 minutes, I might not be able to walk right afterwards.  My saddle is cushiony, and well… fits the size of “my” saddle.  So.  That’s. Good.    The shock absorbers are really awesome.  While I’m riding, if I hit a pothole, or a storm drain, or have to drive over one of those speed bumps — it “saves my saddle” from pain and suffering.  If you are ever in the market for a bike — shock absorbers are on my short list of MUST HAVES, from now on.  Peter tells me not alot of bikes have shock absorbers, sooooo, I might have to keep this one forever.  I might even have to name her.  I’ll have to mull that one over.  Maybe Gertrude!

So this morning I loaded up my sling bag with all my Weight Watchers stuff, my banana, my cell phone, and poured my coffee into one of my travel mugs.  As I opened the garage door to head out on my bike , I was amazed to see morning Fog thicker than pea soup.  I haven’t seen fog that thick in, gosh, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen fog that thick.  Period.  Now I know how those 20 car pile-ups happen in California.

Last summer Peter put lights on my bike, because I was getting home from work so late, that it was dark before I could get my nightly ride in.  He put a white halogen light on my front handle bar, and a red rear light just behind my saddle.  So, I turned on both of my lights, and headed out to the road, for a careful, hopefully uneventful 3 and 1/2 mile ride to the East Brunswick Weight Watchers Center in the Fog.

It’s pretty quiet on the road at 7am on Saturday morning.  That’s the lucky part.  But I’m a careful biker, and I always wear my bike helmet, and follow the rules of the road to ensure I get to and fro, safely.  I climbed the hill out of my development up to Old Bridge Turnpike with alot of strength and speed.  Wow, it was another moment of Victory to realize just how much stronger I have become over the winter, since starting my running training.    It was a gorgeous, spring morning, and I Enjoyed the ride.  (ENJOY IT!  — See it even works on a Bike!)

The Fog was a worry, but turned out to be nothing.  Traffic was light, and WOW it was hard to see the traffic lights until I was right up in them.  My coffee in my travel cup was calling my name!  But, NO DRINKING or EATING until after Weigh In.  That’s a Biblical Rule of WW.    I arrived at the center, locked up my bike to a pillar in the parking lot, and attempted to dry myself off.  Biking in the Fog, is like riding through a car wash.  It wasn’t raining, per se — but I was mildly soaked, and learned that my mascara is NOT Fog-Proof.  I went inside looking like a wreck, and wiped the black circles from under my eyes.  Whew…I made it.

Other Weight Watchers give me Bravos for Biking — which is kind and generous.  I tell them the story that the Thought of Biking to my WW meeting was Born in this Meeting.  Yup.  This was a Pay It Forward kind of thing.  There was this man who rode his bike to the meeting, and I remember noticing him the day he reached his 50 pound lost goal.  He looked great.  Heathy, Athletic, Strong, Like he was Never Overweight.  Yea, there are alot of these types of people out there in the world.  But, you’d never know if he had not told us….that he earned the way he looked and felt by biking every one of those 50 pounds off!  Kudos and Bravos to you Mr. Biker.  I was sitting there, about 25 pounds down in my weight loss journey — wanting to be more like him.   Even then, when I was a newbie and didn’t have 5 healthy habits to count on one hand…I knew enough to pay attention to the habits of healthy people.  THEY were worth Copying.

So, I went home, to my Duthcie husband, who was born and raised on a bike….and I asked him to come with me on a trial ride from our home to the Weight Watchers Center.  LOL.  I was a scaredy-cat, and wanted him to come with me.  Like there was something he could do for me on his bike — if I wasn’t able to ride the 3 and 1/2 miles there…..AND the 3 and 1/2 mles back on my bike???  Oh well…misery loves company,  I suppose.  Nah, that wasn’t it.   I simply managed to find my strength in the company of someone stronger.  Yeah, read that again, it’s important.  People who are starting new athletic habits tend to shy away from people who are stronger.  BUT — People who are just starting out on any new athletic venture (biking, running, zumba, swimming, whatever) manage to find their strength more easily when they are in the company of someone stronger.  This is why we have people like trainers, and coaches, and leaders….because strong people, successful people are encouraging, motivating, living examples of what IS possible.  So there I was following Peter up the hill and down Old Bridge Turnpike like a baby duckling following the Papa duck.  And sure enough, we made it.  Truthfully, it wasn’t hard.  We had been biking 12 miles each night by our home by that time.  Yet just the thought of venturing out into the unknown was enough to make myself doubt myself.  [Duh — some day you are gonna stop doing that, right Diane??]

Anyway……the long story short is this — now that Spring has arrived, as long as it’s above 40 degrees, and it’s not raining, I will be biking to my meeting every Saturday morning.  I Enjoy It!   And I also Love earning 4 Activity Points on Day 1 of a brand new WW week, before I’ve even eaten breakfast.  That’s cool!

Last thought for today……maybe….maybe…..someday, someone at that WW meeting will look in my direction, and begin to Wonder, right there in their seat….I Wonder if I Can Bike to the Meeting?  And then go home and set into motion the beginning of something wonderful for themselves.  Who knows???  But that would be REALLY REALLY satisfying if it did happen.  Paying it forward feels awesome.

P.S…..if YOU are out there…..I have two words for you to remember.   Shock absorbers!   “YOUR saddle” will thank me.

Ciao for now……Diane

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