When smiles are more important than miles

By Sarah Hansing

It's not California. And nobody's quitting. But who doesn't love a silly selfie with SMILE written all over it? !! Photo:  Jenni Shafer

Well, okay, ain’t nobody quitting here. But who doesn’t love a silly selfie with SMILE written all over it? !! Photo: Jenni Shafer

The best intentions.  

It is truly always with the best intentions that I begin a bike ride.

I mean, I LOVE riding bikes. It’s just that … it’s been a long day at work, and maybe I’m feeling just a bit run down.

BUT. My attitude has had a serious talking to and my zen / flow state of mind has been informed that it’s on-deck, and should start warming up.

It’s game time.



See now, I got home from work. I shimmied into my lycra, I put my helmet light on. I got my bike out of the garage. I pumped up my tires. (I gave myself a pep talk). I forgot my water bottle and went back inside. (I gave myself ANOTHER pep talk). I stepped out the front door and back into the darkness. With a heavy sigh I swung my leg over my top tube, clipped in and within 20 pedal strokes I just KNEW.

I knew …

I knew that I REALLY didn’t want to go on a ride. (gasp!)

Like really REALLY really really didn’t want to go. (WT–??)

And I am nothing if not stubborn. (There have been a few kind enough to call it “persistent” instead of “stubborn”)  …  But let’s be honest.

I’m stubborn and prideful, and I was going to be damned if I was going to turn around.

… except for the fact that four miles later, I still did NOT want to be doing what I was doing.

Look. I know that bikes are inspirational. They legitimately change lives for the better. I’m a happier, healthier and more-tolerable-to-the-people-I-love when I’m riding frequently.

But sometimes, I have to embrace the raw honesty of “This Is Dumb, I Quit”.

And this particular evening, I only made it half the distance of the ride I intended to go on.

I tried. I really REALLY tried to be all zen and shit, but I just COULDN’T. I didn’t WANT to. Pep-Talks be damned, I just wanted to go home.

So, I did.

And you know what?

It was still rad. I still got some miles, which is better than no miles. And so what if I was smiling because I had pulled up to my front door, instead of because I just crushed my Strava times?

The important thing is the smiles. If smiles are more important than miles?   … well then, you’re doing it right.

Keep on doing that.


​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.)