Your Bike Is Calling Your Name

Your Bike Is Calling Your Name…
(and it wants you to ride 100 miles)
Originally posted on Athleta’s Chi Blog

You know the bike that’s in your garage? Yeah, you know the one. It’s the one that’s hanging upside down and taunting you every time you park your vehicle. Well, it’s summer and it’s time to dust that bike off. It’s time to sit down and RIDE!

I know the concerns you have because I have them too. I got my very first road bike for my birthday last October and it promptly snowed. Was I secretly thankful? Maybe. All winter my bike was there reminding me that when it finally did warm up I was likely to be flat on my back at the first stop if I forgot about those clipless pedals. It was reminding me that either the right brake or the left brake was the better one to use on a steep downhill grade. Which one was it though? How about those gears… all of them! Would I ever really figure them out? Let’s not forget traffic! Yikes! Vehicles zooming by and I don’t know the hand signals and what if drivers are texting and never even see me until…

Yes. There are a lot of “what ifs.”

There are also just as many “so whats!”

I would never figure it out if I never got on my bike. The same goes for you.

So here it is… an invitation from your two-wheeled friend.

Find A Buddy
I started talking about wanting to ride my new bike and suddenly I found a lot of people who were also putting off riding. My neighbor Krista hadn’t been on her bike in two years. She was happy to get back on and show me the ropes and I wasn’t too concerned about my complete rookie-ness holding her back. She mapped out a 13-mile ride, which seemed reasonable.

Ride Your Bike
Guess what? Riding 13 miles was much easier than running 13 miles. Even my heart rate monitor agreed. I was impressed by the amazing efficiency of this machine!

Register for an Event
The following week Krista and I scheduled a 26-mile ride, a good distance since I have a triathlon coming up in July with a 26-mile cycling portion. Yes, I registered for a triathlon when I had not yet been on my road bike. Talk about motivation to get cycling. Registering for an event will get you on your bike.

Register for Another Event That Makes A Difference
Later that week, while feeling especially optimistic, I registered for the MS 150, a two-day ride that benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Only after registering did I learn that my team was not planning on riding 150 miles over two days, they were planning on 175 miles over two days (just breathe). Later that week our MS 150 team “Saddle Soar” knocked out a 36-mile ride. I was feeling pretty good, even though I still didn’t have the confidence to drink from my water bottle while actually in motion. When I forgot to start my heart rate monitor I didn’t dare attempt to push that tiny watch button while still cycling. I didn’t know how to change a flat. I was definitely the “weakest link” and I was pleasantly surprised at how supportive everyone was.

Participate in a Supported Ride
Having only three rides under my belt and the MS 150 coming up in a few weeks, I wanted to experience a supported ride and I didn’t have much time. Little Red Riding Hood, an all women ride, had come highly recommended and had been on my calendar, but registration had quickly closed at 3000 participants. Luckily, two days prior to the ride a registration ticket fell into my lap! This ticket was for 58 miles and that felt just about right for my fourth ride.

Ride With People Who Inspire/Push You
The night before Little Red Riding Hood my friend Stephanie said, “You know Rachel, if you can ride 36 miles you can ride 80.” I questioned this philosophy, but Stephanie, who has tackled a number of century rides (that’s 100 miles) and even took on LOTOJA (206 miles in one day), was adamant. “No really, if you can ride 36 miles you can ride 80.” Stephanie and her friend Judy were both planning on riding 80 miles and they were considering 100 miles.

“Ok, I’ll try for 80.” Mostly I didn’t want to commit because… well… what if something hurt… like REALLY hurt. My muscles might cramp up. I might crash. If everything went smoothly I would do 80 miles, and by “smoothly” I meant that I didn’t want to suffer through it and I wasn’t willing to hurt myself.

The weather was perfect. The ride was beautiful! Farmlands, rolling hills, snowcapped mountains, bright blue skies and white fluffy clouds were awe-inspiring. “Wow, this is beautiful! Wow!”

Around mile 56 I got a flat tire. There were plenty of volunteers in SAG wagons watching for this very thing. Within two minutes a red pick-up truck was by my side and a friendly volunteer changed my flat.

By the time I arrived at the place where the 80-mile and the 100-mile routes split some interesting logic had been going through my mind. Trust me, four hours on a bike allows for a lot of thinking time. 100 miles suddenly seemed reasonable! Why stop at 80 when I was only 20 miles away from completing my first century?

Somehow it seemed easier to just ride 100 today… and that’s what I did.

My fourth ride.
My first century!

I did not wake up on Saturday morning thinking that I was going to ride 100 miles that day. I can honestly say I couldn’t have done it… and sure wouldn’t have done it without Steph and Judy.

And guess what? I can now start my heart rate monitor while riding, though I still haven’t dared to drink from my water bottle without stopping first.

Can’t you just hear your bike calling your name?

For a list of Women-Only rides check out this article on Cycle & Style– an online cycling magazine for women.

Aaron and I are riding the MS150 in memory of his sweet cousin Kolleen.
To make a donation and sponsor me in the upcoming MS150 click here!
To make a donation and sponsor my cute husband Aaron in the MS150 click here!

This entry was posted in Strong Enough and tagged , , , , , , by Rachel Coleman. Bookmark the permalink.

About Rachel Coleman

The opinions and late night musings published on this blog are Rachel de Azevedo Coleman's alone, and are not ever intended to represent the opinions and sentiments of any organization or product that Rachel is, was, or will be associated with. Rachel Coleman is the creator and Emmy-nominated host of Signing Time!, the children's American Sign Language vocabulary building series. She is also the creator and host of Baby Signing Time, Rachel & the TreeSchoolers, and Rachel & Me. Rachel now serves as the Executive Director of the American Society for Deaf Children, a 501c3 nonprofit established in 1967 by parents of deaf children. ASDC is the American Sign Language organization for families who are raising deaf children. Motivated by her child, Leah's deafness, Rachel has spent the last 18 years creating ASL products to help bridge the communication barrier between hearing and signing communities. In 2006 Rachel founded the Signing Time Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to putting communication in the hands of all children of all abilities. In 2014, the Signing Time Foundation launched a 50-Lesson online ASL curriculum called "Sign It: ASL Made Easy" that is available free-of-charge to families with deaf or hard of hearing children ages 36 months and under. Apply at For those who do not qualify to receive Sign It ASL for free, they can find it for purchase at very reasonable rates on Rachel and her husband, Aaron, live in Salt Lake City Utah. They are parents to Leah who was born profoundly deaf, and is now a senior in college at NTID/RIT in Rochester, NY. They are also parents to Lucy who has spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and recently graduated high school. In 2010 the Colemans were joyfully reunited with Rachel's daughter Laura. Rachel is proud to be Laura's birth mom. Laura was placed for adoption as an infant in 1992 when Rachel was 17 years-old.

24 thoughts on “Your Bike Is Calling Your Name

  1. Congratulations on your first century!!! This is simply amazing. I am completely in awe of you!
    This past weekend I got on my mountain bike after several years. All I can say is, ouch, my butt hurt!

    Best wishes for your MS150 ride and triathlon.

  2. All I can say is YOU ROCK!! It totally amazes me how you just send your mind thinking in the right direction and you accomplish everything you set out to do! You let NOTHING stand in your way!

    Ok, I have a really nice Trek Mountain Bike (I know, different than a street bike) … and it hangs, in my garage, taunting me, just like you said! Maybe I can get on it IF I can figure out a way to attach a HUGE tractor seat instead of that tiny seat that ….OUCH! (not a pretty image) 😉

    Ride like the wind my friend!

  3. Yes, my bike speaks to me all of the time and it reminds me it’s NOT in SUPERIOR condition! AND that it’s been my support on the Slickest Rocks available in these parts. Enjoy the street stuff knowing fully that you have conquered many a revolution before;)
    LUVS, J

  4. You know what a big fan of exercise I am…

    I bought a bike.

    OK? Happy now?

    I like SuperWoman…she’s HAWT.

    (do remember, darling, to say that with an accent!)


  5. That is awesome!! I got to ride in Little Red also it was a beautiful ride. I rode with my mom who is amazing, many people have told her that women her age (she 61) should not be riding bikes, I just keep telling her she can do anything she puts her mind to. She rode 58 miles. We will do it again next year.

    This weekend I am doing my first century in the Tour de Cure (Mom is doing the 65 mile ride). I LOVE my bike!!

    Good luck with your MS 150.

  6. OK that bike hanging upside down in my garage HAS been taunting me. How did you know? I think you may have just inspired me to go biking on my non-running days!

  7. Hey, Rachel!
    That is absolutely amazing! I don’t even own a bike… Haha, so I can’t even imagine a 100 mile bike ride.

    I saw on the Signing Time forum that you might be coming to Santa Clarita, California in August? Any details on that or is it still up in the air. That would be amazing! We are only 40 minutes away. I think my 1 1/2 year old would have an aneurism (of joy) if he got to see you in person 🙂

  8. You went 26 miles on your SECOND bike ride? Then 100 on your fourth???? Just my opinion, but that’s insane. I used to ride my bike quite regularly, and my loop was 10 miles. That was enough of a work out for me. Good for you though!

    Whatever happened with running with Lucy for the Salt Lake City half-marathon? I’d love to hear how you and Lucy did!

  9. First of I love your site! You are amazing, WOW what an inspiration you are. I am just getting into cycling and am loving it so far. I look forward to reading your updates!

    • I am just getting into cycling too. LOL
      I just bought a cycling jersey today (my first) I can’t figure out why they are so expensive! So there are pockets on the back… big deal!

  10. Just thought I’d let you know that this morning after my bike ride I ended up on my back, in my driveway, with one foot still clipped in. It wasn’t so bad. I survived. No blood.

  11. Wow, I just found out you had a personal blog. My kids used to watch you! We just love you. As for this post, I am in rehab for runner’s knee, so I went out and bought a bike. I’m a little intimidated by it (SO different than running), so I appreciate the encouragement here!!!

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