Balancing Act

You’ve seen them at stoplights: those guys (always guys so far in my own experience) doing a track stand. They’re standing up on their pedals and the bike is basically standing still without falling over. Or they’re doing little hops to keep it upright while accomplishing the really essential task of never setting a foot to the ground.

I have no idea how to do this and won’t bother to learn any time soon. I feel no shame in coming to an actual stop. That gives me time to look—really look, mindfully—for oncoming vehicles, pedestrians, and other bike folks.

Every so often, though, I experience my own moment of grace when everything comes into balance.

Everything has to align just so. Most often it happens when I’m on a slight uphill, coasting gently toward a red light and glancing every so often at the cross street’s flashing “Don’t Walk” indicator in hopes that it will go solid, the light will change to yellow and then red, and I’ll be able to proceed through the now-green light without ever having to come to a full stop.

Something magical happens sometimes as I lose momentum. I reach the exact moment of equipoise: weight evenly distributed, no apparent forward motion, no tilting, and I float, weightless. These moments come more and more often, which I attribute to greater experience on the bike.

Life has these moments if we allow ourselves to recognize them. We pedal, pedal frantically sometimes, just to stay upright and keep moving forward, believing that if we stop we will fall.

We can find that moment of grace if we pay attention, pause, and stay balanced: watchful for the things that would stop us, ready to keep going, floating free as a bird.

Your Turn

  • What things do you strive to balance in your life?
  • Do they get in the way of riding your bike, or does riding your bike help you keep your life in balance?
  • Can you believe these women in the video?!
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6 Comments to "Balancing Act"

  1. Antigone says:

    Those women ROCK! 🙂

  2. We agree, Antigone! Makes a track stand look like child’s play, doesn’t it?

  3. […] Bring one pedal up to the 3:00 position as I stand on the other leg at the stop. Why? Because this gives me a gentle rolling start when I take off. (As previously noted, I can’t do a track stand.) […]

  4. […] Balancing Act: One of those sublime moments you can experience only on a bike […]

  5. […] That moment when things are in balance, on a bike, is the golden moment. It’s when you are paying close enough attention to wave a friendly hello at the runners coming down the trail, and are aware enough to notice that yes, birdsong can still be heard in the middle of downtown Spokane. The reality is that when you are on a bike, looking down at your phone (never mind fishing it out of your jacket) is just a bad idea, and not usually worth the time it takes. Instead, it is the time to notice that the neighbors just put up their Santa blow-up in the middle of June, or that the new coffee shop is open, or that the ducks on the river have new ducklings. […]

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