As I pedaled through my neighborhood today, the breeze cooling my wet skin reminded me of a similar happy moment. It was a bike ride with my mom on a beautiful Palm Springs day.
As a single parent, my mother relished the occasional opportunity to get out alone on her bike. I imagine it was one of the few times she didn’t think about the challenge of feeding four little mouths or the countless luxury homes she would need to clean to do it.
One day, after employing my little sister’s strategy of begging until my mom couldn’t take it anymore, she allowed me to join her. I could ride my bike with my siblings around the neighborhood, but I was curious about my mom’s rides. She always came back so different; so pleased with what she accomplished. I wondered what she did on those rides.
After reviewing the basics of riding our bikes on the road, we took off. Mom led and I followed. We rode to my school and then drifted through the park. We pushed hard to get up hills and enjoyed the wind in our hair as we descended. I had no idea how far we had traveled by the time we returned home, but I was blow away by what my body just did. It took me so far. I walked through the front door with my bike and a big smile; feeling I had just discovered my mom’s secret.
With that ride, she introduced me to exercise as self care. She taught me to be confident in what I could accomplish with my body. She laid a foundation for a lifetime of loving fitness and I am eternally thankful. Decades later I am still riding and she still inspires me. My mom is definitely my #1 fitness hero. Who taught you to love fitness? Who inspires you now?
Here are my top 5: