For some, their 40s are a chance to relax. The kids have grown up a bit and one’s career is established and livelihood secured, it’s an opportunity to start winding down and settle comfortably. For others, it’s the exact opposite. Take Richard Price for example, when this 42-year-old father of two started to feel that his fitness level was slipping and the diagnose of an insidious disease topped the unpleasant situation, he decided to take matters into his own hands. And he did it by buying a different set of wheels than you’d expect from a middle-aged man. He became a cyclist, because it helps him to stay fit while fighting the illness. His wife might miss having him around on the weekends, but surely all hostility is forgotten when her fit husband comes pedaling up to whisk her away.
So how exactly did this renowned feature writer end up spending an upwards of 10 hours a week on his bicycle? Richard had always been an active guy and a regular runner, but one day, in his early 30s, he started noticing that something was wrong. He was frequently tripping while he ran, and experiencing significant trouble maintaining his balance at a quick pace. Of course this was a very alarming realization, and Price was devastated when a few months later, after a series of nerve-racking tests, he was told that he had Multiple sclerosis.
MS is a chronic disease, and this news was understandably difficult to come to terms with. Crippled with anxiety regarding the impact the illness would have on his life, Richard initially slipped into a rather sever bout of depression. Feeling that all he could do was wait around, slowly losing control of his limbs before ending up in a wheel chair, he felt very very sorry for himself. Physical activity had always helped him cope with stress, but now that he was literally unable to run, he felt trapped. Trapped in a mind and body that were failing him, he struggled to find the motivation he needed to be an energetic partner to his wife and father to his children.
Then one day a friend suggested he try cycling. Wanting desperately to get back to his old self, he conceded and everything changed. Thrilled to discover that the same problems with balance didn’t affect him on the bike, he realized that he might not be able to run, but he could ride. Feeling that this was actually going to be what saved him, Richard progressed quickly with the sport. He soon invested in a road bike and within the year had made plans with a couple of friends to cycle to Paris. It was his first cycling goal and he managed to raise 5,000 pounds for the MS society while accomplishing it. He was thrilled from the rush and has been hooked ever since.
Richard credits his family as his biggest motivation to keep moving forward. He said he was very proud of his father and wants his children to be able to look up to him in the same way, to be able to say – ‘my dad did that’. In addition to making his family proud, it is the prospect of accomplishing a challenge that drives him, reminding us of the importance of setting goals. As his story shows, by giving you something to focus on and visualize, goals help you better connect with your inner desire and provide you with the motivational energy you need to work through tough times.
There’s so much to do and experience in life, but many of the things we want to achieve won’t be handed to us – we need to work for them. Richard’s drive shows us that you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to figure out what is truly important to you, and live the life you want. With no signs of slowing down, you can expect to see Richard and his crew continuing to tackle the roads, maybe even putting the young guys to shame. How has cycling changed your life? Share your story here.