Friday, August 17, 2007

How To Handle The Bumps

So I've been riding my bike to and from work every day since May. I take the Burke-Gilman trail because it goes along the lake and there are no cars allowed on it. It's about seven miles each way.

There are lots of big bumps on it caused by tree roots and some kind soul has spray-painted around many of them so at least you can see them coming. Here is my latest observation about that, which of course, I find to be a perfect metaphor for coping with life.

One way to approach on-coming bumps is to hold tightly to the handle bars and just coast over them. This makes you feel as if you have more control, but it transmits the force of hitting the bump right up into you arms and shoulders. It also hurts your butt.

The other way is to keep pedaling and sort of post, like on a horse. You rise up just a tiny bit from the seat and loosen your grip on the handle bars and hold them lightly and gently.

It is somewhat counterintuitive, but after riding for the last three months I can tell you that the latter approach is superior. It hurts way less.

I think this goes for things like test results, performance evaluations and your family's reaction to your new book. Our tendency is to brace ourselves and rigidly hold on for dear life. We would be better served by relaxing and holding the situation lightly and gently.

So I continue to move onward and breathe as I wait to talk with my parents and my sister about their reactions to It's Not About the Hair. I sent them advance copies last week. My sister e-mailed that she liked it and liked reading about my patients. She didn't say anything about what I wrote about our family.

I'll call my parents tomorrow and let you know how it goes. I wonder if someone should spray-paint around them?

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