I bought myself a bike last weekend. Nothing fancy, a basic road bike. I’ve been thinking about it for a while but didn’t really want to spend the money a decent bike costs. However, tempted by a “half price off everything” sale at a local bike shop, I finally succumbed.
The last time I owned a bike I was 15. I left it chained to a fence outside the local football club and it disappeared during a match. I got it back two years later when the police finally recovered it. My smart racing bike had been re-painted a lurid shade of green, re-invented and totally munted. All that really remained was the frame. It was unrecognisable. I never rode it again and quickly got rid of it.
I hadn’t ridden one for years, so getting on a bike again for the first time was a little nerve wracking. As I moved off around the shop car park, there were a few wobbles but riding a bike is just like, well, riding a bike. It all comes back to you in seconds and away you go.
Work can be a little like that at times. You see people who have been out of the workforce for a while, or tackling a task they haven’t done for a long time and you see the wobbles. A few reassuring words and they usually straighten right up and off they go.
I am lucky to live in a coastal area with a lot of beach and river tracks. I love to walk, both for the exercise and to think. I do most of my best thinking about work and life when I am out walking. In fact, I often write blog posts in my head while walking!
However, walking takes up a lot of time and I was finding I had less and less of it other than at the weekend. Therefore I figure cycling will give me a different type of exercise in half the time.
I have been thinking a lot about balance recently – how, when and where I work and different work habits I could adopt. Work can be all-consuming so I have put some self imposed rules in place to try and spend less time being totally consumed by my job whilst being more productive. I haven’t completely cracked that particular nut, but I feel a lot better about the dreaded work/life balance. I have taught myself to let go of things I can’t control or don’t care for, and spend more time on non-work things I enjoy. I feel much better for it.
When I got my new bike home I could see my teenage daughter through the window, faced locked on her laptop screen as it seems to be all day every day she isn’t at school. So I tapped on the window and invited her to come for a ride on her own bike.
Much to my surprise she said yes. After putting some air in her tyres (the bike doesn’t get much use) we took off for a very pleasant 40 minute ride around the local river trail. A father and his daughter. One of those all too rare these days moments together doing something fun.
It’s all about finding the balance.