Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

Delimiting the Limits I was riding in the Hill Country recently and on a pretty hard section of the course I looked over and observed a 66 year young rider who was hanging tough with the rest of us. It reminded me why my job is not merely designing and creating bicycles, but also helping people expand their limits. This guy was tough as nails and cycling had a lot to do with it. His capacity for work, tolerance for discomfort and persistence to get the job done is normal for us cyclists, but is so much higher than that of the general population. It also explains to me how cycling is The Fountain of Youth, as a person who until recently would have been considered “too old” for such activity was not only surviving, but thriving while embracing the obstacles that cycling challenges us to overcome. The personal growth that comes from this is what keeps us young. On the flip side of the coin, I met with a woman today who is quite new to cycling but who is determined to become a truly proficient triathlete. She is in her 30’s and while fit and strong, is intimidated by the type of riding that our 60 something friend above takes for granted. He is both aware of many of his limits but has, over time, pushed and expanded them. Our younger friend has the potential, yet has many more limits at this point because they have not been challenged and conquered. My job when designing a bicycle is to find the limits of the people I work with and help them determine if that limitation can be addressed or must be accepted. It is on one hand ultimately challenging and at the same time fulfilling, because we all are like onions, and when one layer of limitations is eliminated there are always more. So while I noticed our elder gent was enjoying the ride, I encouraged the young woman to be patient. In time she will realize that her trepidation is nothing but a part of the learning curve she is on. Over time many perspectives will change, myths will be debunked and limits rendered limitless. I still deal with limits both personally and with others professionally and at best it is a work in process. The results show that the effort is worth it and for that I am thankful that somebody thought we would be better off riding a bicycle. The question of what limits we place on ourselves, and whether we let those limits control us (or the reverse) will be more of a determining factor for our success as cyclists, triathletes, professionals and as people. The part of cycling that I notice more these days is a pattern of discipline, toughness, adaptability and a strong work ethic. As the world gets more competitive, this separates us from our sedentary colleagues in ways positive for us, maybe not so for them. While global political and economic changes challenge our workplace, the counterbalancing effect of cycling is validating people’s repurposing of the sport from “hobby” to “success tool.” This would explain why cycling in general and triathlon in particular are becoming more and more popular with today’s professionals.  Cycling is easy to learn and hard to master and as such is a great lifelong avocation. The great thing is, your life will be longer and you will be living more as well.

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