When the going gets tough, stay on your bike

Allison Tait blog
Posted on August 27, 2010

You may not know this about me, but I have cycled 500+ kilometres, all at once, over the course of a week. Twice.

Of course, this was BC (not just before children, but indeed in ancient times), and it was for a good cause. The Big Ride was a major fundraiser for Multiple Sclerosis – and an excellent way to lose up to five kilograms in one week.

I bring all this to your attention because I’ve been thinking a lot about mountains recently. Specifically, mountains of work. As discussed before, freelancing can be a rocky, rollercoaster of a road. Lots of hills and valleys.

I was reading a blog (and I cannot for the life of me remember which one, so if it was yours please let me know so I can reference you here) recently, which talked about weight loss as climbing a mountain, particularly if you had a lot to lose.

You couldn’t look at the whole picture, you had to look only one step ahead at all times.

Writing a novel is the same.

I commented that my wise friend L had some excellent advice about mountains. I did my first Big Ride with L and it was with her that I encountered some of my first big ‘hills’ during a training ride one morning. I looked up, saw what looked like Mt Everest rising before me, and immediately stopped.

“I can’t ride up that,” I said, preparing to dismount.

“Stay on your bike,” she said, severely for someone who is generally very laid back.

“I can’t ride up that,” I repeated, taken aback.

“They’re never as big as they look,” she said, dropping down about six gears and moving forward. “If you just keep riding, you’ll find you’re halfway up it before you realise.”

Doubting her, I did as she asked, swearing the whole time (in very genteel fashion, if you’re reading this Mum and Dad).

She was right.

Whenever I’m confronted with a mountain of any kind, I think of this advice. It doesn’t matter if you’re attacking piles of work or a novel or or a mountain road that would make a Tour De France rider blanch (well, maybe not, but you get my drift), the approach is the same.

The thought is worse than the reality. They’re never as big as they look. Stay on your bike


  1. Shelley @ My Shoebox Life

    Oh yes, last year, this year, there’s always a mountain to climb. Great advice.
    Popping in from the Rewind.

  2. A Farmer's Wife

    Love this. There is something similar I think of about overwhelming challenges. The general idea is that a big task is like eating an elephant – you need to do it one bite at a time.
    Although heaven knows who would ever eat an elephant – quite weird now I think about it….

  3. therhythmmethod

    I’ve read this one before somewhere else – an oldie, but a goldie. Possibly one of my favourites EVER. Big call, I know.
    Funny, I told you to stay on your bike over at Lucy’s before I even realised you were staying on your bike for Rewind. Spooky. Sound advice *bring bring*

  4. Catherine

    So true, Allison! Both of physical and mental challenges. If a project is too big I bail before starting but if I do one small step I’ll keep going until it’s finished.

    An aside, thanks for biking for MS! As someone dealing with it it always makes me smile to see others getting involved. Much appreciated!

  5. Diminishing Lucy

    Look at that. A year ago I declared love for you and your bike.

    And the message of ‘stay on your bike’ still rings so so so true.

    Have a good weekend Al,


  6. MultipleMum

    I remember this one. And I cannot forget those hills. We have summited many mountains since this post haven’t we? Thanks for joining the Weekend Rewind again. You rock big sis! x

  7. Dorothy

    This is so true…. It is similar with depression. I heard this bit of advice recently – “Just do something! It doesn’t matter what you do – go for a walk, pick up one toy from the floor, just do something!”

    Soon enough as I’m pottering around the house starting odd jobs here and there, I start to feel better, even if I never finish all the jobs today..

  8. Deer Baby

    Good advice – I keep taking my feet off the pedals and free wheeling but I’m still on it.

  9. DanniiBeauty

    Definitely great advice!

  10. Seraphim

    I’m adopting this as my mantra for the next few weeks. And wow for the bike rides. The more I know about you the more amazing I think you are.

  11. Cinda

    “Stay on your bike” I love that. Good advice for any type of mountain in life. Kind of like that song….Ain’t no mountain high enough………

  12. Olive

    I love this post, fantastic advice. After my car dieing I think I’m going to be on my bike a it more

  13. Cate P

    Good advice in any arena.
    Love the pic too 🙂

  14. Melbourne Mumma

    Great post and some wise advice, a good of looking at a challenge. Have a great weekend!

  15. MultipleMum

    As a person who tackled the second of your 500+km rides with you, I’d have to say that L is very right. But I still don’t know why bike gears can’t go down to a ‘half’. One of those crests still got me off my bike! A wise post from a very wise ol’ owl 🙂

  16. kurrabikid

    You know, I needed to hear that this morning – thank you.

  17. Draft Queen

    That is so clever! Great advice!

  18. Maxabella

    What great advice. I’ve got to stay on my bike right now as I tackle the Mount Everest of weight loss. It’s like drip torture, but I’m getting into the routine of it all. I’m on the bike. Great post!! x

  19. Lucy

    Oh how I love thee, you and your bike. xx

  20. Bronnie Marquardt

    Stay on the bike – I love it. I also use the Winston Churchill quote which goes something like this: When you are going through hell, keep going.

  21. Thea

    “Stay on your bike”
    Excellent, easy enought to remember and so powerful.
    Great post. 🙂

  22. Julie

    definitely some good advice!!! I know this is belated,but I want to thank you so much for your Australia hat and books. So thoughtful for you to send them from so far away. Your kindness is much appreciated. take care, Julie

  23. Victoria @ Hibiscus Bloem

    Wow – I’m impressed with all that cycling. Surely you have a few sore bits now?! Great advice for all those mountains we could across in our lives, real or metaphorically.

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