I Stopped Apologizing on Rides, and This Is What Happened

For many of us, an apology is a stand-in for courtesy and lack of threat. But it can also come across as a stand-in for inexperience, insecurity, and incompetence. I want to embrace my strong suits and be ok with my mistakes. So why do I feel the need to apologize for the otherwise self-assured way I ride my bike?

Looking for more reasons why cycling is so great? Here are nine things you can do on a ride, but not in real life:

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I decided to curb this bad habit and stop apologizing for 30 days on my bike. No more “Sorry, I’m slow today,” no more “Sorry, I’m just going to walk my bike over this log,” when I’m riding trails, and definitely no more “Sorry you had to wait,” when I rejoin faster friends at the top of the climb. Instead I would approach the top of a climb with a sense of accomplishment and gratitude. “Thanks so much for waiting!” I would say, without begging to be forgiven for my need to stop and take a drink.

Initially, this was easy enough once I started making a conscious effort to be more mindful. But I discovered my biggest arena for struggle continued to be on mountain bike trails. Something about being out of my roadie element brought out my insecurities and need to justify why I was taking up space that faster, more assured riders obviously deserved to occupy. “Oh, sorry!” I wanted to say, every time someone needed to pass.

I also had a tendency toward excuse-making. “I’m tired,” I’d want to say before the ride even started. “I’m hungover,” I’d consider revealing mid-climb. “I can still feel last week’s race in my legs,” I’d barely stop myself from whining. With every ride, it was a fight not to leak a list of qualifiers for why I wasn’t hanging in, or setting the pace, or outright dropping everyone. 

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For a little insight into why it was so hard for me to cut the…

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