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Old Habits Are Hard To Break

After seven days on a bike tour through Northern Thailand, my wife and I wound up at the Anantara Resort at the Golden Triangle.  She was ready to sit by the pool for the day.  I was ready for one more ride.  Last day.  Only 25 miles.

I got used to the left-side-of-the-road traffic the very first day.  No problem.  I lived in England.  Drove quite a bit there. Also in Australia, Ireland, Jamaica, and other places as well.

Most days we biked 30 miles or so.  Two days we biked 70.  That’s a lot on a mountain bike.  I was strong and confident.

I was uncharacteristically late getting myself ready for the ride.  I missed the briefing.  No worries, the guide told me.  Better hurry down the hill, he said.  Catch the rest of the group.

I jumped on the Trek and tore downhill.  I couldn’t see the group down the driveway (opens up the location in Google Earth).  I pedaled faster.  Two-thirds of the way down there was a sharp right turn.  I figured the group was just around the bend.  As I got closer a guy on a moped came around the corner.  I was doing about 25.  I moved to the right.  He moved to the left.  I moved further to the right.  He moved further to the left.  Just before we crashed I remember the guide telling us on that first day, not to get hurt to the point you’d need a blood transfusion.  This is Thailand, he said.  I remembered that as I was flying over the guy and his moped.

Somehow I wound up with nothing more than a scratch on my right elbow and one on my knee.  I still can’t imagine how.  The guide, who had been following me in the van was astounded that I was OK.  I was as well.  I asked for a new wheel.  Done.  The guy on the moped was fine.  His moped wasn’t.  Employee of the hotel.  Don’t worry, sir, he said.  Within a minute I was on the bike again, catching up to the group, staying diligently on the left side of the road.  In fact, locked on the left side of the road.

Breaking a habit is like that.  Everything is fine.  Feeling comfortable.  Maybe you even get a bit complacent.  Then an interrupt resets the circuits in your brain and you react.  Not as you learned you should. But as you used to.

New times call for new approaches and new habits.  And practice and discipline so they stick.