Meet Colette, we met back in 2013 working as British Cycling Breeze ride leaders. Ten years later I invited her on a heart-shaped route to help her ride inwards and get clarity on her 2023 intentions!
Step 1: Follow your heart
First we sat on a sun filled bench and took some gentle mindful breaths to help settle into our bodies. We then searched for any 'punctures' using my NEW wheel of life activity sheet (see below). This led to Colette realising her tyre was a little flat around community, and just how much she wanted to pump it up. Ironically I had the same sort of puncture!
We then listened to my heartful ride meditation and had a pleasant conversation (in our heads) with our ideal self. It's a lovely way to start your ride as it really helps to reinforce your intention, or sometimes shed light on things you may have been previously unaware of.
INNER RIDE QUESTION
Looking at the wheel of life, can you notice any punctures in your life? What area needs pumping up the most? If you need some help getting clarity, listen to my Heartful Ride Meditation on Insight Timer or download it here.
"I love what you are doing and how you're creating a greener and sustainable way of living. I enjoyed our day and found that creating my own affirmations really helped me to focus and move forward. I feel more able to make clearer decisions for myself now, thank you"!
Step 2: Location
Furzton lake in Milton Keynes, England.
A beautiful lake surrounded by swans, ducks… and dinosaurs! It's also part of the route 51 cycle network that leads you all the way to Oxford.
INNER RIDE QUESTION:
Where would you like to cycle your heart out?
Once you've chosen your country and place, take some time to collect physical maps / online maps.
If your route is in the UK, try looking on the Sustrans website for advice on bicycle friendly paths in your chosen area.
Step 3: Create your heart route
I first made this 2.7 mile route when I started riding heart routes as part of my morning routine. I found it was a great way to start the day and help reinforce your intentions.
After over 11 years in 10 countries of making heart routes, I can honestly say that the Milton Keynes redway maps are the best to use when it comes to finding heart routes!
INNER RIDE QUESTION:
Need help with your heart route? Here are my top 3 tip:
Remember your heart routes don't need to be perfect, because neither is life!
Step 4: Cycle Your Heart Out
Before we rode I suggested Colette write down a short affirmation about how she wishes her community to be. Repeating this to yourself before your route is such a powerful way to bring your intention to life. Always write it in the present as if it's already true, for example:
"I have a loving supportive community and I feel like I belong"
Once we had set off we then tuned into our 5 senses as it's such a simple way to ground yourself and enjoy the present moment. As we rode we soaked in the sounds of the chatty ducks, views of the sun bouncing off the lake, the cold sensation of the winter air on our cheeks, the smell of the half naked trees, and the taste of coffee on our lips.
Here were some of the highlights along the route:
Dinosaur Valley for scary crazy golf
Sul Lago Restaurant one of the best places for pizza in Milton Keynes!
Tattenhoe Valley for traffic free peaceful cycling and walking trails
INNER RIDE QUESTION:
How about you? Do you have an affirmation you'd like to write down and repeat along your route?
Try practicing the 5 senses activity and see how it makes you feel, look for 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.
Step 5: Spread the love
After the route we practiced my 'Heartful world' meditation (coming soon) which is based on the well known loving kindness meditation. This is one of my favourite practices as it's all about sending compassion to those you love, strangers, those you find difficult, and every living being.
Sharing your route with loved ones and your community is a beautiful way to spread the loving energy that you created on your route, and a great way to bring your ride affirmation to life!
Colette lives in Houghton Regis and is hoping to grow her community around here and central Bedfordshire in England.
Here are 5 ways you can expand your community today:
INNER RIDE QUESTION:
Have you created your heart route? Awesome! Now choose 3 loved ones or communities you'd like to share it with to inspire them too!
Are you also wanting to grow your community? What 3 baby steps can you do today to help?
Follow your heart
Cycle your heart out... home, to your true self
Sudden loss, dramatic change and heartbreak can shatter you to the core, and leave you with such a mix of emotions, that overwhelm engulfs you. You may feel ungrounded, insecure with zero energy, you may question your very existence, what you really want in life, who you are, and why you're even here.
After many months of listening to my heartful ride meditation, one city and theme kept coming up.
That saying "home is where the heart is" finally started to make sense. Deeply embedded, free from any bricks and cement, location free, lay my home, my heart.
If you're going through something similar, I hope my poem rides you back home, to the doorstep of your true self.
The Ride Home
Ride until past pain softens and future frets fade
Until your ocean breath returns
And your saddle feels like home
Ride with no real plan
To feed your soul
To find freedom
To get back on the path
And no one else's
I rode the train to Paris from Barcelona. It only took about 6 hours and left me in the heart of the 12th arrondissement, at Gare du Lyon Station. A short walk from the station was the peaceful Coulée Verte René-Dumont, a 4.7 km elevated park built on top of an old railway track, and great for walking your dog! Me and Maya spent the first night soaking in the warm sunset along the river Seine, and the silhouette of Sainte-Chapelle.
A beautiful 13.95km ride right through the heart of Paris! Creating this route involved the help of some good friends, helpful strangers, a cute bike cafe, and a pinch of serendipity!
To make the route I downloaded this map highlighting all the bicycle friendly paths in Paris, and then plotted out a rough heart shape. With no real knowledge of what I was riding past other than the Eiffel tower, I was happy when I showed my good friends Elodie and Astrid, who both confirmed the route goes past some of the most beautiful spots in Paris! I always love a good physical map in my hand before I ride, so I picked one up from a hotel and brought heart route 46 to life!!
Click here to view the the heart route on Strava!
Cycle Your Heart Out
The morning of my ride I was walking Maya along the Coulée Verte René-Dumont Park searching for a bike to rent on Google maps as the local bike app did not seem to want to work on my phone. At that moment I luckily bumped into a lady called Lorraine from Australia! She recommended a bike cafe called Le Peloton who also rent bikes! When I arrived I was served by a lovely lady called Julia from Barcelona. She was super helpful with renting me a bike with a basket for Maya, and also gave me tips of places to eat along my route.
-Jardin du Luxembourg
-Fontaine de l'Observatoire
-Cycling along the beautiful river Seine through the 1st and 8th arrondissement
-The Eiffel tower heart balloon photographer!
-Finding Maya’s twin! @ourslespitz
-Ending the ride on the river for sunset
-Seeing the Notre dam lit up at night
Spread the Love
-Elodie from Paris, my sister from another Mr! For our beautiful friendship around the world, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona and now Paris! For reminding me to run with wolves, and remember my worth. For showing me the beautiful Parc de Belleville by night. It has the most incredible views of Paris, and the area was also the hometown of La Vie en Rose singer Edith Piaf!
Food and drink:
- Thanks to Fabian and Ely at L'Ébouillanté restaurant, their salmon crepe was divine!
-Lou Pascalou - try their cheese board!
Inner Ride Question
What can you do today to help get you back on
your own path?
After an intense period of change or loss, it's quite common to feel anxious, ungrounded and lost. Finding ways to cope led me to reconnect even more with my mind, body and soul. Here are some of the ways that helped ground me and get back on my own path:
Hi I'm Sarah the Heartful cyclist, author and poet