Dream Archive

Small Beginnings, Huge Success

Posted February 2, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I walked into the local Applebee’s, eager to meet new people, citizens of Missouri. As is my custom, I went to the bar. It always provides an open atmosphere with a family feel. And it’s guaranteed to provide lots of fodder.

Shortly after Melanie took my order, a couple entered and sat next to me. They were about my age and we instantly  struck up a conversation. Since Elise is the shipping and receiving manager for a very large retailer, we had a lot to talk about.

She’s been with this company for over thirty years. I marveled at that since with my sense of adventure, I can’t imagine being in any one place that long. But I became completely captivated when she told how this company got started.

Over forty years ago, a guy named John loved fishing and made his own lures. People who fished with him noticed he always got the catch and encouraged him to sell them. So, he made up a batch and put some in the only “store” he knew of, his uncle’s bar. They sold more lures than drinks and the bar finally had no more room to increase the inventory.

John decided to start his own business. He worked at it, not because it was a business but because he loved it. People flocked to his store because it was one place in town they could get a really great experience, quality products that worked, and be waited on by someone who loved what they did. 

Apparently, that is what people were looking for back then because John’s business literally boomed. He took a few lures he made in his garage and sold in bars, and turned them into a multi-million dollar industry.

Elise beamed with pride as she told me the story of how her boss, John L. Morris, turned his modest beginnings into the overwhelmingly successful Bass Pro Shops. She’s been a part of growing that company for three decades. Throughout the conversation, she never once referred to the company by it’s name. Instead, she said, “we…”, “our”, “us”. Their entire supervisory staff has a minimum of fifteen years of service and most of them well over two decades.

As I walked back to my truck, I was struck by the fact that John did not set out to be a successful business man. He didn’t have a business plan and didn’t have a business degree from Harvard. He didn’t have a five or ten year plan. Instead, he literally took what he loved to do- fish- and found a way to make a living at it… and a handsome living if I do say so.

I’ve heard hundreds of people who say things like this can’t happen to them. They say success comes only to those who were born into certain families and dwell among the elite. I disagree and I’m sure John would as well. 

Any one of us can be wildly successful if we find what we love to do and figure out a way to make a living at it. Don’t you remember the last time you went to a business and the person genuinely loves what they do? Sure you do because it’s that memorable. 

What do you love to do? I love adventure. That’s why I can’t be tied down to one place. An office–even the corner office–feels like a prison to me. So I live on the open road. I’m at home. Like me, there is something that you LOVE to do. A place in this world where you feel at home. It’s where you fit into the puzzle called life. 

Find that place. Your place. Pursue it with gusto and passion. You may just find that that small beginning might just become a huge success.

 

 

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Special New Year’s Post: Expand!

Posted December 29, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I recently heard a story about golfing great Arnold Palmer. I do not know whether it is fact or fiction but the story’s message ignited something within me that I felt so compelled to share with each of you, my loyal readers and followers. The story goes like this:

Arnold was invited by the king of Saudi Arabia to play in a tournament his royal highness was hosting. When Arnold agreed, the king sent his private jet and flew the golf legend to his country. After several days of play, the king approached Palmer and expressed his gratitude to him for coming and wanted to give him a gift. “Anything you wish”, the king offered.

Arnold declined the gift, saying he’d been such a gracious host, that would be enough. The king was so insistent, Palmer knew he would have to accept something. Since he was a collector of golf clubs, he asked for one. He returned home and as he waited, he imagined what a golf club that came from the king would look like. Maybe it would be solid gold or perhaps be studded with diamonds and other precious stones.

One day he received a certified letter from the king. Arnold signed for the letter and opened it. To his utter amazement he found the deed to a golf club. The king had purchased and entire golf country club and gave it to Arnold as a gift.

Though I have no way of knowing whether the story is true or not, it’s truth cannot be denied. Many times I’m guilty of thinking too small… dreaming to finite… trying to live life within the confines of my limited vision. Riding my bicycle around America on the Road to Freedom Tour in 2013 showed me I don’t have the capacity to dream visions big enough. Around each curve, over each hill a blessing immeasurable awaited me. That truth expanded when I began my new adventure of being an over-the-road truck driver in the summer.

You may be thinking you’d never do either one of those. Doesn’t matter. There is a destiny you were created for. It is so big, you cannot phathom it, conceive of it, or even dream it fully. But you can expand your thinking. You can enlarge the camp of your vision and move in a greater direction than you have been. 

In these last two years, I have grown more, experienced more, been challenged and stretched to a greater measure and been blessed more than in all my other years combined. I have definitely expanded, but I’m not stopping there. I need to enlarge my thinking and dream bigger. So do you.

As you put the period at the end of 2014 and usher in a brand new year that is yet a blank sheet of paper, I urge you to expand. Tear down the walls of your limited vision and let yourself out of your box. Be all you were destined to be. Take your rightful place!

The world needs you. What’s more, your dream is too important to remain unlived.

Happy New Year of being the best you can be!

 

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Don’t Take Your Eyes Off the Road

Posted March 10, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I sat in a restaurant hangout the other day and gazed out the window at the traffic of a nearby intersection. You can learn a lot about people, their behavior and habits by doing that.

One the opposite side of the intersection from where I sat, cars drove up a hill in my direction and did not crest the top until the intersection itself. It creates a blind spot just on the other side of the traffic light.

I watched as a car slowed down in the left lane. Unfortunately, the car behind it topped the hill and saw the slow vehicle too late to stop. It crashed into the back of it. Moments later, a third car repeated that and three cars were crunched together like and accordion.

Fortunately, no one was injured and the police cleared the wreckage within minutes. Just moments after that, this exact same scenario was repeated with three additional cars. Why? Because the drivers took their eyes off the road.

You’re in the middle of something right now. You may be pursuing a dream as a writer. You may have your own business or are finishing up college. Whatever it is, it’s your life right now and demands your full attention.

Don’t take your eyes off your journey. If you do, you may crash. Instead, watch where you’re going and keep an eye out for those things (or more commonly-people) that could suddenly derail you, delay you or destroy you. Steer clear of those obstacles.

You’ll most assuredly have people standing in your way. Right there in the middle of your lane, someone is forcing you to slow down. Don’t allow them to do that. Steer around them. Oh, and don’t just sit there on their bumper honking your emotional horn at them. It’s been proven many times it just causes them to go even slower. And worse, you have to slow down to do it.

Steer clear of them!

If you’ve ever driven or ridden in a car, you know the roadways are congested with an endless barrage of things to distract you, stand in your way and prevent you from reaching your destination. Most of the time, those obstacles are mindless other folks who don’t even know where they are going, let alone realizing they’re in the middle of your lane.

Look, where you’re going is important. It’s designed to change our world. Umm, yes, I just said you’re supposed to change the world. Accept it. It’s your lot. Keep going. Keep your eyes on the road and navigate around everything that gets in your way. Don’t stop believing. Don’t stop weaving. Keep moving forward!

Ever had someone in your life trying to roadblock you? How did you handle it? Share it here!

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What I Learned About Dreams From Susan Boyle

Posted March 6, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I’m not one to sit around watching reality TV or shows like America’s Got Talent. Just not my thing. In fact, I rarely watch TV at all. But there is one YouTube video that I do watch and never grow tired of viewing it. It is the April 11, 2009 initial audition by Susan Boyle as she appeared on Britain’s Got Talent.

The country looked on as an odd woman marched out to the center of the stage. No one thought she could carry a tune in a bucket.  In fact, they whistled and cat-called as she introduced herself. The auditorium erupted in laughter as she announced she’d be singing I Dreamed a Dream from the musical Les Miserables. Moments later she opened her mouth and instantly changed the world. Before the end of the second sentence, the entire audience was on their feet applauding her and remained standing throughout the duration of her performance.

From start to finish, that night she was on TV for five minutes and fifty seconds but during those three hundred and fifty short ticks of the second hand, Susan completely transformed the way the world thinks about living our dream.

She became an instant celebrity… a household name. And that was before the actual competition ever began. Forget her record smashing album sales. Susan became the hero of the average man, woman, boy and girl across the globe that night on the audition stage. It became the song hear around the world.

There are so many lessons I learned from watching that five minutes. Here are but a few:

People will be quick to judge us. When she walked out onto the stage, the judges and audience instantly concluded that her entire audition—other than to humiliate for sport—was an enormous waste of time.

Those same people are usually wrong. They were proved wrong the instant Susan began singing. 

You don’t have to defend your gift. Susan didn’t spend a moment trying to convince the judges or a cackling audience that she was a singer. She let the gift speak for itself.

No one laughs when your gift goes forth. Susan’s voice instantly pierced the hearts of everyone there and before she could sing the second line, they were on their feet cheering her. A fickle lot… we humans.

I could go on and on. I would encourage you to view this video. You’ll have to do it more than once. And as you do, remember you’re just like Susan. You may not have her voice but you do have gifts unique to you. And you also have those in your life who don’t believe in you. As sad as that is, it’s true. But that doesn’t change the gift, or your need to use it to change the world!

Stop spending time trying to convince people of who you are. Just be who you are and when you do,  your gifts, talents and fruit will speak for themselves. Even more importantly, you’ll change the world!

Like Susan Boyle on that night in the spring of 2009, this is your time. Seize it. Change the world. Make your mark… that lasting imprint and legacy that will flow to generations to come.

How many more ways can I say to take your rightful place. The world needs YOU!

Have you had a situation where people didn’t believe in you or your gift, only to have the gift prove them wrong? Begin changing the world right now by sharing it here!

 

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Go Boldly, or Wimpy… but GO!

Posted January 9, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I grew up as a die hard Star Trek fan. I couldn’t wait for the next episode: I knew the intro by heart and recited it with the announcer:

“…to BOLDY go where no man has gone before!”

I always wanted to be a part of that exploration. My heart yearned to head out to places unknown in search of… well, something. Some call it a pioneer spirit. Others, insanity. To me, it’s just who I am.

Heading Out at Sunrise

 

I wish I could say that I was like Daniel Boone or the astronauts who walked on the moon. Unfortunately, even though many times I did head out in search of something, I was pretty wimpy about it.

Know what I learned about that? Here are just a few things:

Whether I go wimpy or boldly, I still get where I want to go. That’s encouraging. And empowering. I also gain more boldness the farther I go putting my frightened foot forward.

Boldness is overrated. The emphasis should be on the “go” part. Courage is not the absence of fear. It’s moving forward in pursuit of your dream in spite of your fear.

Boldness slips up on you. Piece by piece, boldness is build. The mighty tower is constructed by each and every success you have, no matter how small. Suddenly, you discover you are a fortress of bold confidence.

2036_bmx

Everyone’s a wimp on the inside. It’s true. Underneath that strong exterior you see in some, they are afraid. The only difference between them and perhaps you is they felt their fear and pursued their dream anyway. They focused on the “go” part, rather than the wimpy feeling they had.

You have 100% total and complete control over that. You can put one step in front of the other. You can apply for that job. You can talk to that agent or editor. You can lay the groundwork for that incredible business you dreamed of owning. It’s completely up to you.

Success is sweet but it isn’t always reached with finesse. Sometimes even the greatest winners cross the finish line on their hands and knees panting and drooling. But they still cross first and win the race. When they’re standing on the podium getting the medal placed around their necks, do you think it mattered how they looked when they crossed the finish line first? Umm… no.

Victory girl by Photostock FDP

Look, bold is good. Going and getting where you want to be is better. Much better. Just do it. Wimpy or not, GO! You’ll be glad you did and the world will be changed. So will you!

When was the last time you set off to achieve a goal? How did you feel? What was the outcome? Share it here!

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What Are the Chances?

Posted October 2, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Today I rode over to have lunch with my great friend, Regina. She knows I love Mexican food so she insisted we eat at the local Mex place. Of course, I didn’t put up a fight. I’m just glad I didn’t tear down the door trying to rush in for my chips and salsa!

While we eat our enchiladas, I regaled her with stories of the road. She was amazed but not the least bit surprised. Regina and I met when her husband (a career Navy Physician’s Assistant) was deployed to Kuwait after 9-11. She’s watched all my adventures over the last decade and known what I will do to help others.

Jacksonville, Florida Skyline from the River Walk Trail

Jacksonville, Florida Skyline from the River Walk Trail

During our conversation, she asked how I got in touch with all these women who have been violently assaulted or sexually abused in their lifetime. I sat back and said, “With 1 in 3 women victims in the US, what are the chances of me NOT coming across them?”

She’d already gotten the message. She’d been looking around the restaurant, realizing that 30% of the women in there statistically were victims. Dreams they once may have had were destroyed by a senseless act by a heartless perpetrator.

Dare to Dream Cover

We said our goodbye’s and I set out to complete my errand-to-run list for the day. I stopped at what has become one of my favorite places on the road: Dollar General. No matter what my traveling need, I can always find something there that will do. I needed bungee cords and of course, they had them!

As I exited the store, two woman stood on the sidewalk, one older and the other younger. Both had jail tattoos on their necks, shoulders and arms. They’d been standing there when I went into the store. The older woman called out to me, stating they’d been waiting for a cab for over an hour and asked if I could give them a ride to their apartment a short distance away.

Main Street Bridge from the SouthBank

Main Street Bridge from the SouthBank

While I wasn’t able to give them their much needed ride, I did take the time to speak to them and to help them figure out a solution to their problem. The older lady became curious about what I was doing so I explained about the Road to Freedom Tour. 

Tears stained her cheeks as she explained how she had been abused by her father. He gave her drugs to calm her down because she fought him. The drugs wore her resistance down. This went on for years, until she finally struck out on her own. She had no skills, no education and no hope of finding a real job. With her back against the wall, Sarah turned to prostitution.

The experience was so painful, she did what her father taught her to do: drugs to mask the pain. She wound up in prison and has had a rough go of it. As I listened, I tried to imagine what she looked like thirty years ago with her long, black flowing hair, dark skin and a smile that reflected something other than empty holes where teeth once were.

My anger kindled against this father and what he had stolen from her… a lifetime of happiness and in her case, freedom.

Just moments before, Regina said two words came to mind as I spoke of the Tour: Freedom and Soaring. Sarah had experienced neither but was in desperate need of both. I asked her if she would be willing to go back for her GED if I could arrange it for her. She agreed. I made a call to a friend who heads up a charity. The contact was made.

Before we parted ways, Sarah hugged me and said no one in decades had taken the time to care about her. Decades! What’s more, the younger one had been silent and stood away from us during the entire conversation. As I walked away, she ran to me and said those inevitable words: “It happened to me… too.” She asked if I could do the same for her so I made a second call and asked for the order to be doubled. 

The organization sent a cab to pick up the ladies and take them home. Tomorrow, they will be picked up and taken down to the organization headquarters so their needs can be determined and met. 

Reba in Jail

Whether these women and those like them are incarcerated or not, they are imprisoned by their own emotions. They live a life in fear, devoid of the freedom we take for granted. As I rode away and back into my day, Regina’s question reverberated in my mind. So did my answer: What are the chances I won’t run across one of these women? Indeed…

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The Familiar

Posted September 26, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

As I plan for my latest departure on the Road to Freedom Tour, I feel a bit nostalgic being surrounded by so much that is familiar. I lived in Jacksonville, Florida for over forty years. I know the streets. The history. I’m able to pick out even the smallest subtlety in any area of town.

144 W. 4th Street, where I lived in the inner city

144 W. 4th Street, where I lived in the inner city

There aren’t many roads I could travel down in this town without a memory of some sort flashing on the silver screen of my mind. Many of them good. Some painful. All a part of the history that is Reba J. Hoffman. 

I marvel at how I survived the inner city high school as a teenager with a slow Texas drawl. I ran the same cobblestone streets as a child that Dakota and I rode down as we wound our way through downtown. Only God could have protected me in that environment.  My heart filled with gratitude at how He cared for me when I didn’t even know it. He met my need when I didn’t know I had it.

Andrew Jackson High School, where I graduated. It looks much better today than when I walked its halls.

Andrew Jackson High School, where I graduated. It looks much better today than when I walked its halls.

As I rode through the Avondale community, I noticed the old Shell service station had been replaced by shops and eateries. While I’d been away–or perhaps just not paying attention–someone repaved memory lane.

There is a blessing in the familiar. I didn’t have to ask directions or MapQuest it when I needed to go to Barnes and Noble to research my latest book I’m writing. I just went. No wrong turns. No relying on GPS or written directions. I knew the way.

The familiar.

My heart pulls me away from the familiar to… well… out there, somewhere. To a place I’ve never been on roads I’ve never ridden. It beckons me to come. I must obey. I know this has to be the restlessness felt in the heart of every pioneer as they left comforts and comrades, opting for the unknown and uncharted in search of… something.

Jacksonville, Florida Skyline from the River Walk Trail

Jacksonville, Florida Skyline from the River Walk Trail

The Road to Freedom is all about exploring the unknown. For me, it’s traveling alone by bicycle to places I’ve never been and meeting women I’ve never known. For these women victims of violent assault and sexual abuse, the unknown is trying to face a world free from their abuser or the shame they’ve lived with for years, or even a lifetime.

Just like I feel comfortable, yet unsatisfied and restless in the wonderful city of Jacksonville, Florida, these women have learned to exist in their familiar. They don’t like it. In fact, they hurt deeply but it is all they know. It’s easier to maintain than to blaze a new life for themselves.

It’s easy to accept the familiar and not try to live your dreams, heal your wounds or live the abundant life God intended for you to live. The unknown carries fear. But it also can open up a whole new and fulfilling world. 

 

Out there... somewhere.

Out there… somewhere.

 

 I’ve lived in the familiar and I’ve traveled down unknown roads not knowing where they would lead. I have to tell you, given the choice I will always choose the road untraveled to the familiar. It’s exciting, liberating, and completely fulfilling. I wouldn’t trade my life on the bike for anything. I took a chance and stepped out of the familiar. Lives have been changed… including my own. The familiar isn’t worth giving up that for.

What about you. Are you holding on to the familiar when you’re being nudged out into a new world? Share it here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What Failure is, and Isn’t

Posted August 29, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.
Illinois State Line

It wasn’t Oregon

I have had such an outpouring of love, friendship, caring, concern and overall well wishes from so many when I released the news yesterday that I’d suffered two serious, ride ending injuries. I am so grateful for all the emails, calls, texts, voicemails and personal visits as I move toward restoration.

Interestingly, I’ve had some individuals try to encourage me in “my time of failure.”  That word took me by surprise because not once did I ever consider that I’d failed. I began pondering that and realized that many of us have a distorted view of failure.

The Road to Freedom hasn’t stopped. In fact, rather than pedaling to where the ministry took place last night, the ministry came to me. I sat with a house full of amazing and courageous women who have lived hard lives and have amazing stories of overcoming and triumphantly taking their lives back.

No failure there, just courage, tenacity, and victory.

Twin Bridges over the Ohio River

Twin Bridges over the Ohio River

As I pondered, I discovered what failure is, and what it isn’t. I’d like to share that with you:

What failure is:

1) Never attempting what you would had you followed the leading of your heart.

2) Not daring to dream.

3) Being led by excuses to not live your dream.

 

What failure isn’t:

1) Following your heart and winding up in a different destination.

2) Attempting to live your dream and it doesn’t work out.

3) Giving something your all but not reaching your goal.

 

From the Farm in KY

Thunderstorms began at sunrise

There is a clear difference between failing and being a failure. On any given Sunday, two teams suit up and take to the gridiron. Both want to win and give it their all. Only one team can walk off the field with the win but they all are victorious. Do you realize how many successes it requires for a single player to make it to the NFL? And yet, one team loses.

The recent injuries I sustained that caused me to have to look at Dakota rather than ride him made me keenly aware that many of us have become laser-focused on the outcome rather than the journey. If things don’t turn out exactly the way they planned–and the never will–many will lump that into the failure file.

On my bike, I could plot out a route I would take in any given day. Not once did it turn out the way I planned. But, at the end of the

Planned to vid

Plans to visit my parent’s graves were washed out

day, it had been a gloriously successful one. Never did I consider that day a failure, and yet, there are so many who will. The feedback I’ve received bears witness of that.

Failure is NOT having tried and ended up somewhere other than where you planned. Failure is never having tried and ending up where you were. 

What is YOUR definition of failure? When was the last time you felt like you failed? Share it here!

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Just a Few Things I’ve Learned So Far

Posted July 24, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.
Planned to vid

Planned to visit parent’s grave today. Rain foiled plans but I met the most incredible 3 women!

I’m am so blessed right now to have a respite. Fellow author Suzy Parish and her husband, Chet, have invited me into their home. Truth be told, they are spoiling me. I slept like a log last night in spite of a sprained shoulder and cracked rib. My body is very happy to not be pedaling today.

Between doing bike laundry, shopping for bug spray and travel size toothpaste, and meeting Suzy’s amazing friends, I’ve had some time for reflection over the last several days. I stand amazed at how God has orchestrated this trip. The people I’ve met and friends I’ve gained are treasures that make me the wealthiest woman in the world.

Here are just a few of the things I’ve learned along the way that I want to share with you. Whether you are a woman battling PTSD, or just someone trying to make it through your journey in life, these truths are for you:

1) There is always a solution to your problem. Always. God is not limited by what we can think of in our own intellect. He has given me amazing solutions to the dilemmas I faced along the way. Things I never would have thought of myself.

2) People want to help. By and large, the people I’ve run into along the Road to Freedom Tour genuinely want to help. Many don’t know how to help but they do want to help. What’s more, they feel so wonderful when they know they have reached out and helped someone in need. 

3) Things won’t go according to plan. Get over it. How it will go is better than your best laid plans. In the end, it will be so much

The Patio at Rosie's Cantina

The Patio at Rosie’s Cantina

better for you and all those concerned. 

4) God’s got this. He really does. No matter what is going on in your life, and no matter where you are right now, God’s in control. Trust that. 

5) God’s timing and solutions are the best. Nothing on this trip has turned out the way I envisioned for it to go. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. But, I could not have orchestrated such an incredible trip in my wildest dreams!

6) Just because you don’t know someone doesn’t make them a killer. The fact that you haven’t met someone does NOT make them dangerous, out to get you or a threat. They are just genuinely kind, considerate, intelligent, humble people just like you.

7) Each of us has a dream and passion inside us. Not once have I met anyone along my trip who said, “Gee, that’s great but I don’t ever want to do anything that makes a difference in anyone’s life. That’s a dumb pursuit.” No, when they see a 56 year old woman alone on a bicycle pedaling over a mountain with fifty pounds of gear, they say, “Wow, I’d love to be out there with you.”

Sometimes you're the engine. Sometimes you're the caboose. It's all good.

Sometimes you’re the engine. Sometimes you’re the caboose. It’s all good.

If my Journey to Freedom Bike Tour would end tomorrow, I have had enough blessings and learn enough to last ten lifetimes. But God is allowing me to keep moving ahead after my days of rest. Life has become extremely simple. Now, I just pray… and obey. When an opportunity presents itself to share my story, I do. I don’t refuse help… even if I don’t necessarily believe I need it. God sends it. I accept it, pure and simple.

I am rich. My heart if full and overflowing. My spirit soars higher than an eagle. I’m humbled that God would choose me to be blessed in such a way. You all bless my heart as well that you would take this incredible journey with me. Thank you for helping me spread the word. With you on my team, we will help millions of women find the courage to take back their life and live it to its fullest.

God bless you, my friends. 

Tomorrow I will be sharing a couple of stories of women I’ve met along the way. They will all be anonymous, of course but they will be stories of amazing courage. Don’t miss it.

 

 

 

 

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If it Could Go Wrong…

Posted July 10, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

2036_bmxIn preparation for my trip, I’ve taken several rides-with and without gear- to make sure everything is in working order. It’s a critical function when getting ready to pedal off into the sunset. Miss a step and I could wind up stranded in the middle of nowhere with a bike that won’t budge.

On the shakedown rides, things will go wrong. It’s the nature of the ride. While not a whole lot of fun, it really sets a rider up for a good tour. Not only does it allow me to dial in my gears and get used to my equipment, it toughens me against discouragement when things do go wrong. 

A touring bicycle has 14 billion parts. I’ve counted. Okay, not really but it sure seems that way. Anything can break down. Here are just some of the things that have happened as I’ve been preparing for departure by taking these rides:

1) I’ve had a total of 4 flat tires, all on the rear wheel. That’s never fun because I have to completely unpack my rear racks and Scared to deaththat carries most of my gear. It also means my have to get greasy. I have to disengage the wheel from the chain. All the way around, it’s just a dirty rotten mechanical chore.

2) My Chain came off and lodged between the cassette (rear sprocket) and the spokes. This only happens when pulling up a steep hill. I was dialing in my gears and, against my better judgement, shifted into the lowest front chain ring. It took half an hour to get the chain unstuck and back on track. I still have the grease underneath my fingernails.

3) I took a wrong turn and wound up on the interstate.  Not only is that a dangerous ride, it’s illegal in all 50 states. In 95 degree heat, it can also be fatal. My heart rate soared to the high 180’s, which is my max. I went anaerobic which means my body was canabalizing my muscle for fuel. I lost the strength in my legs and finally had to be SAG-ed in. (SAG= Support and Gear). 

Young Woman Holding Her Neck in Pain4) On a very long ride, I took a wrong turn and got lost. Again. It was getting dark and I had to be SAG-ged in by total strangers. That’s a risk but these two brothers were just good ole country boys. I really enjoyed our time together. They even asked me to send them a postcard from the west coast.

5) I pinched a nerve in my neck. No not cycling, but sleeping… at an odd angle. I’d give up the latter as too dangerous but I can’t figure out a good substitute. I’m on the mend but it’s a slow and painful process.

Touring is not an easy thing for someone like me. I have a very small bone structure. In fact, I wear a child’s size helmet and bike gloves. I have very little strength in my hands. Taking a tire off the rim to patch or change the inner tube is quite a workout. I’ve seen guys just pull the tires off with their bare hands and try not to get jealous. 

These shakedown rides gives me the opportunity to figure out creative ways to do things with my limited upper body strength. They’re great. Not comfortable but necessary to the success of my tour. So, I gladly accept them, endure the pain and thank God when I get a flat.

I’m inching closer to departure! 

What’s gone wrong in your life? How do you handle it? Share it here!

 

 

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