Fat Tire Tuesday: Be More Like Harlan

Reflections on seeking out your very own pieces of happy

By Sarah Hansing

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I have decided that I should endeavor to be more like my cat. Not in a climbing screens and destroying toilet paper rolls kind of way, mind you …

OR in a sleeping 18 hours a day kind of way.  

I suppose just mostly I should be more like Harlan in the way he can always just seek out and  enjoy the happy moments in life.

This came to mind as I was riding with friends over the weekend. Two of us are sharing the fun bonding exercise known as “recovering from an injury.” We’ve ridden together a few  times during the continuing course of healing up, and she and I have a very similar mentality when it comes to injury. Which is to say, not very smart.  

It’s not that we’re idiots, necessarily, it’s just that we’re pre-programmed to just go for it, when it comes to sports. Oh. Wait. Maybe that does translate to being idiots?   

Ahem. We prefer to think of it as the Adrenaline Athlete Brain. We are takers of chances, without realizing we’re taking chances. We are gamblers, without even realizing we’re putting a bet down. And we have finally (at least in this particular instance) come to a clear understanding that we simply cannot ride in the manner and style that is so second nature to us.  

We have to think differently; ride slower and with more caution. Keep the wheels on the ground more, and the bike as upright as possible. Because some riding is better than no riding at all, and getting hurt again means no going outside to play on bikes.  

Yesterday during a mellow pedal through the singletrack, I lamented the jumps I was riding around; I used to hit those same jumps with the slightly fatalistic enthusiasm that the adrenaline junkie’s brain specializes in. I MISSED getting my bike into the air. And I was worried that maybe I’d lose my touch and the ability to launch the dirt ramps forever. My brain was playing that terrible game of “Are you being smart? Or are you being a tremendous wuss?” with me, and I was struggling with it.

As we drank some water trailside, my friend looked over at me and said “Yeah, but look. We’re pedaling, the dirt is great and we’re outside! You just have to enjoy the good pieces in the moment.”  

harlan3Which brings me back to Harlan.  

As a cat, he loves the sunshine. Even if it is the tiniest sliver of sunshine that has made it’s way through the clouds, past the blinds and onto the hardwood floor, Harlan will find that small piece of cat-happiness and stretch himself out to enjoy it. He will follow those spots of light and warmth and happiness all over the house, and seek them out like the golden prizes they are to him. It is more than just enjoying laying in the sun; it is truly a cat treasure hunt to seek out his pieces of happy.

I intend to follow his example, and do more seeking out my pieces of happy. The pieces of your bliss often don’t come to you in large chunks, after all. It’s important to seek out and treasure each piece, wheresoever you find it.


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​Fat Tire Tuesday columnist Sarah Hansing has been slinging wrenches as a pro bike mechanic for 15 years (with the exception of a one year stint working for Trek Bicycles in Wisconsin.) Epicenter Cycling scooped her up as their lead mechanic and the shop’s crew plans to ​keep her forever. Sarah loves riding singlet​rack, wrenching on bikes, and hanging out with her jerk-face but adorable cat Harlan. (Who is a jerk.)

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