I love riding my MTB in the countryside and this is what I do to destress and exercise.
The scenery is amazing, the wildlife is abundant and the terrain challenging in the Overberg.
The other day, after riding up and over a local hill, I descended with care as the shale like ground can be treacherous.
I relaxed a bit as the gradient leveled out. A sheep ran across the road, I glanced at it and the next minute I was braking hard as I realised I was falling into a huge hole in the road!
I will spare you the expletives I uttered as I fell.
So how the hell could this happen? I just told you I am a careful rider. Now here comes the lesson. You know they say things come in threes. Well, I had a shin bump, a knee knock then a bike fall.
As I gingerly got up, realising nothing was broken, I muttered to myself, ‘pay attention’.
Even though I was looking where I was going as one does when riding a bike, the finer detail of the earth having been disturbed, escaped me.
I think in life, this is a damn good lesson. Complacency, or expecting things to be the same, because last time they were that way trips us up a lot!
So what does paying attention mean? I guess it is about awareness, alertness and responding to changes.
We as humans do not handle change well generally, which is why we go into threrapy after a relationship break up or lose confidence after a job loss.
I wrote to the municipality who came back to me very apologetic that they had not put up any warning signs or markings, whatsoever!
I think we have become so reliant on others to warn us, expect the authorities to take care of stuff like our roads, that we merrily drive or ride with absolutely no expectation that there could be a huge hole in our path.
This, despite the numerous disaster movies Hollywood is so fond of making.
So today, I will pay attention, will be alert, and will remind myself frequently, that the pain of not paying attention (which could have been a lot worse) is not worth the effort to wake the hell up and see what is around me. So please do yourself a favour and be alert. It may be a lifesaver.