The wheels in our heads…and lives…go round-and-round.

It’s summer in Iowa! And with each day of sunshine, especially before the humidity sets in, I take every chance I can to get on my bike. This past weekend was no different.

I am fortunate to have a whole crew of friends who love to bike – many of whom I met over 20 years ago on the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa.  RAGBRAI is a 7-day bike ride across the state of Iowa. There’s nothing quite like it. The exercise. The commitment. The freedom. The joy. The Adventure!

I met most of my biking girlfriends when we were all in our early twenties. So the course of our relationships, and the extent to which they involve biking, has been in flux over the years.

The onslaught of marriages, divorces, babies to children to teenagers, losses, illnesses, careers, career changes, geographical relocations – the stuff of life – has often taken precedence over our bike rides.

So whenever I get an opportunity to spend some quality girl time on 2 wheels, I cherish it.

There’s just something about being outdoors, self-powering your mode of transportation, that cleanses the soul – taking in the scenery, warmed by the sunshine, breeze blowing through your helmet, seeing the smiling faces of the cyclists heading the other direction.

And the soul cleansing is amplified when you share in it with your sistas!

How my sistas and I even end up getting ourselves to the same place at the same time, on our bicycles and ready to ride is where the Adventure starts.

Each of us sorting, planning, arranging and wrestling with the details of life to get ourselves there.

All at different stages in our lives. Dealing with varying circumstances – all involving shifts, changes and some discomfort. Pressures of work, home, raising kids, navigating relationships, finances, careers – all wrapped up with the emotions of being female.

Despite all that, everything came into perfect alignment for three friends to share a bike ride – along with a little purging, comforting and understanding.

We laughed. We cried. We laughed some more. We sweat. We questioned. We answered. We offered. We hugged (when we were off of our bikes!). And of course, we laughed some more.

On the way back home, still on our bikes, we stopped at a scenic spot where a lot of bikers stop to take pics.

Still buzzing from our connection, support, laughter and love, we were quite giddy as we asked a couple enjoying the view to take our picture in order to commemorate the day.

It was nearing dusk. Our nearness to a body of water meant the mosquitos had come out to feast. In our attempt to get a good pic without being completely drained of our blood supply, we were dancing and jumping around, waving our arms between takes.

Our patient and entertained volunteer photographer somehow managed to get several shots. She handed the phone back, and as we were flipping through the options, my friend belted out, “Crop that shit out!

Apparently, during our raucous attempt to not be eaten alive, my friend’s bike vest, which zipped from the bottom as well as the top, had exposed her midriff. None of us had noticed. Or at least if the stranger taking the photo did, she failed to mention it.

Twenty years ago, none of us would’ve batted an eye at baring our abs, but today, my friend was mortified – and not having it!

Her exaggerated response and flagrant comment had us all crying tears of laughter, including the surrounding passers-by.

We all kept mimicking her comment, and as we rode away, sun setting, still in fits of laughter, we could hear our new friends calling out, “Crop that shit out!”

I knew this was one of those memories that would stick with everyone who was fortunate enough to witness the whole fiasco.

“Crop that shit out” will be the subject of many “you had to be there” conversations to come. The instigator of personal, private bursts of laughter. The motivator for having to repeat the quote out loud in another context, however inappropriate.

But it also became something much more than that.

Just a day after the outburst, it dawned on me –  during a moment of inner chuckling – “crop that shit out” was the perfect metaphor for all life’s challenges we brought with us to that bike ride. All the pain, the hurt, the fear, the self-doubt, the lack of self-love. The things we were unable to let go of. That we were living over and over again in our own heads. That we were succumbing to. Accepting in our lives despite how healthy, loving or productive it wasn’t.

Crop that shit out – if not physically in our lives, at least in our minds. The barrage of people, things and ultimately thoughts that we’ve allowed to keep us stuck, make us feel like were drowning, rejected, not good enough, not worthy, unlovable. Like we’ll never get there, wherever “there” is. That deny us happiness, peace of mind and freedom.

Sometimes all it takes is a simple crop to see the beautiful picture in front of you!

The actual cropped photo !

The actual cropped photo

 

 

3 thoughts on “The wheels in our heads…and lives…go round-and-round.

    1. Dana Shane Post author

      Hi Mom! Thanks for checking out TAL. I am impressed that you commented on the site (trying something new and unknown). You never cease to amaze me. Love ya!

      Reply
  1. Shel

    I can totally imagine this all Dana! ? Love it! Just sorry I missed the “in person” version. Hopefully next time I can gymnastics my way through the items referenced above and make it. Good read!

    Reply

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