First of all hills are the worst. You have to be strong and really gear down. When I started biking all I wanted to do was flat and easy roads and any time I would come to a hill, I was done. I have leaned that is a very limiting way to bike. Now when I come to a hill I take one look, swallow my fear, keep my head down and pedal...pedal... gear down and pedal some more. When I get to the top I am exhausted but I feel so accomplished, I breathe and its a riot zooming down the hill on the other side. So much like life. When I have a "big mountain" to climb in a work project or cleaning my house or yard or dealing with family issues, it's best to just put my head down and dig in. And I always feel so good when it's finished then I can relax and breathe on the other side of it.
We have some tunnels that we bike through. I wear sunglasses when I bike so these tunnels are already dark and now they are extra dark. I have to trust the bike in front of me or the few lines I can see on the trail as I go through the dark,if I am alone, and know I will see the light again at the other end. Sometimes Wayne rides in front of me with his blinking back tail light, If I just focus on that I will also make it out the other side. The dark tunnel can represent so many things...trials, depression, unanswered questions, but once again if I just keep moving forward with faith and follow the little bit of light that I can see, then the bigger light will eventually appear and I will be feeling/seeing good once again.
It's great to ride with someone. Riding in a pack does a couple of things. Cars that we share the road with can see us better and wevcan draft off the bike in front which makes it easier. I'm glad my Wayne likes to bike so I can share the road with him. I go out alone quite a bit, but it's always more fun to be with other bikers. I know this is why we come down in families to this world..so we can bike through life together and help each other. When drafting in biking, the lead bike takes most of the wind resistance and the bikes behind get 30% less drag and thus spend less energy. If you are exhausted just be a few inches behind the bike in front of you and be pulled along. It's nice to have a lead bike and most bikers take turns being in front. We can't always be the leader (nor do we want to be) and we have to learn to be good followers.
Other lessons can be: if at first you don't succeed try, try again with regards to getting the right shoe clips.
Take embarrassment in stride--Don't fall down and if you do, just get back up.
Be prepared with the right biking food for energy and bike equipment for flat tire changing.
And let music motivate, energize and accompany you on your way.
I'm planning on my first century this summer. I know my biking and my life lessons will continue---(even if I look like the Uni-biker. )