Opening Up.

Photo Credit: Parker Deen
Silver Moon Photography
Yesterday Bike League/Women Bike posted an article I had written after I read a Wheelwomen Switchboard post on how riding a bicycle benefited a person: How Bicycling Healed My Heart

I feel that there is much I can write about this topic in so many different ways. It's like an onion, there are many layers in which could be peeled. Each layer having their own story and thoughts. The topic of the article was a huge life lesson for me and it continues to be so to this day.

You could say that I was delayed in finding myself; frankly, I'm still working on the whole self-discovery thing.

Below is a bit more about my thoughts and feelings on the topic. If you read the article that was posted yesterday, thank you. All of my friends, family, and loved ones have truly made the past couple years something special. Growth is hard; thanks for putting up with me.

Riding a bike has changed my body; there is more tone and definition to me than in previous years. I’ve found that I can love and appreciate my forearms and my legs, rock hard and strong. They make me feel beautiful and sexy.

My legs have never been dainty by any means, I have cankles….I lack the delicate and small ankle that would be fitting to someone my size. My ex-husband always said he envied my legs, saying they were the perfect body-builder legs because of how my calves were built. I’ve always had a soft spot for my legs, even tho they are riddled with spider veins and can bruise easily. To me, they equate to power.

I've always enjoyed my arms as farming gave me some bicep definition that I felt proud of (and still do). My shoulders are broad for my frame and to match the width of my hips. They symbolize strength even tho they have their weaknesses. My friend, Sarah, had noticed my forearm definition far earlier than I did. Frankly I was in denial that anything with my body had changed!
I’ve had pride with my arms and my muscles for many years and now they are stronger than ever, aiding me with climbs.

With all of the physical aspects that riding a bicycle brought to me, the bigger benefit I gained was better mental/emotional health.

I’m an emotional person, one of who tends to get very high-strung when stress is consuming me. I tend to dwell, over-think, and all out obsess over things that bother me. I’m also sensitive to those I’m around. If I’m around someone who is chronically depressed I have a tendency of taking on those feelings myself. (My dr. told me he suspected as such when he prescribed me a low dose of anti-depressants.)

Divorce can be a tricky topic and ordeal for people to go through, thankfully for us it was not a traumatic process. We ended the marriage but maintained our friendship- we both knew it was for the best.

Looking at the big picture, the beginning of the end was me starting the process of finding myself. When I bought my bike in 2012 I was taking a stand against my personal thoughts-“Stop telling yourself you can’t ride a damn bike.” Because that is all I did for the past several years- tell myself I couldn’t.

Once I realized I could ride a bike, I understood that I could accomplish many more things in my life. Large and small, I would start working on my fears and grow as a person. I wanted to share my newfound freedom with my ex-husband, but I kept being turned away. I think that is when I realized that we were too separate and different to be partners anymore. It’s not that we didn’t like each other, but our interests were no longer meshing and our common ground was at a bare minimum. We found less and less to do together, and that is something I realized I needed and wanted.

Photo Credit: Parker Deen
Silver Moon Photography
My story is about a woman who didn’t know who she was for many years. It’s about a woman who realized that she told herself she couldn’t too many times. It’s about a woman who saw that she did deserve to have her needs met-like a partner who would support a newfound hobby and a partner to ride with. It’s about a woman who had to accept that sometimes divorce is actually the right thing even tho it hurts. That divorce doesn’t make you a bad person; being able to admit when something isn’t working is better than staying in denial for years to come.

Bicycles hold so much power within them, you really never know until you get on one and go for a ride.

Something clicks in your mind, heart, and soul; a feeling of happiness, freedom, and joy all wrapped into one. 

I made peace with the child who hated how riding a bicycle made her feel and I became friends with the woman who was bound and determined to prove that she could make a difference in her life.


  1. Such a wonderful article Josie! You're a great writer! Parker took some great photos, too! :D


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