Over the past few years of cycling I've learned a few things.
First, always look behind you before you spit. Or clear your nose. You never know when another cyclist (or a vehicle) is coming up behind you, and you want to make sure the coast is clear before you do either. And I certainly hope any rider in front of me offers the same courtesy.
The second thing to remember about cycling: it is a metaphor for life.
Riding is an activity that is often solitary. Other people may come along for a time, but often it's just you and your thoughts. Or thought, as the case may be. There are hills and valleys, sunny days and rainy days, injuries and accidents, and days with struggles and days without.
And then there's the wind. A strong headwind on a ride can make you feel like you're actually going backward. But a strong tailwind can make you feel like you're flying.
In life, you may get married and divorced, have kids, send them off to be on their own, but there will be times of solitude. There are ups and downs, good days and bad days, illness, and days with struggles and days without.
And there are days where you feel people or forces are pushing against you ... you feel your headwind. It feels like you'll never get ahead, no matter what you do. And then there are days where you feel like you're on top of the world, like there's nothing you can't do. You feel your tailwind.
The interesting thing about a tailwind is that you don't always know it's there. We like to think of ourselves as self-sufficient, that we don't need any help. But often, an unseen someone or something was there all along, pushing us and guiding us.
With a headwind, you always know it's there. You can feel it when someone or some force is keeping you from moving forward, and it's a struggle to continue. But no matter which wind you have on your ride or in your life the most important thing I've learned is this:
Just keep pedaling.