bicycles and Lamaze

Life is like riding a bicycle —
in order to keep your balance,
you must keep moving.
~Albert Einstein

Yay! It’s time for Libby Hickson’s second annual Tour de Craft. Libby is crazy nutty about le Tour de France (the 21-stage, 3,664 km bicycle race). Since I’m crazy about Libby and a little nutty about bicycling, I’m tickled to join her and her other stamp-happy friends to honor the Tour.

I knew I had to pay homage to the almighty climb when Libby told me I was assigned to Stage 13, one of the six mountain stages of the Tour. We’ll see who wins the coveted Polka Dot, King of the Mountain, jersey for their Alpine climb.


Keep On Pedaling

I used to ride my bike all over the rolling hills of Southern Indiana. I rode the Hilly Hundred, led beginner bike tours as secretary of the Bloomington Bicycle Club and used the Hoosier landscape to train for Iowa’s RAGBRAI. Don’t be impressed – all I did was just stay on my bike and keep on pedaling, slowly.

I’ve climbed only ONE mountain on my bicycle. When we were bicycling Vermont’s Green Mountains on our honeymoon, my poor groom reached the top and had time to read War and Peace before I finally caught up with him. (That probably should have been a big clue to him that he’d be doing all the heavy lifting in our marriage.)

Despite all that, or maybe because of it, I have a love/hate relationship with climbing. I don’t much like climbing hills (we won’t even talk about mountains), but I sure do love the view at the top and I really love flying down.

Bicycle Shaker Card

Someone said bicycling is a metaphor for life. (I don’t know who, just trust me.) That was never more true than when my son was born.

Back a squillion (okay, 30) years ago, Lamaze childbirth classes taught me to visualize something happy to engage my senses and decrease my awareness of pain. My happy-inducing memory then was riding down a hill in October through Morgan-Monroe State Forest. A breeze had just lifted the leaves off the trees and the leaves showered me with color as they fell. It was life-altering gorgeous splendor. I practiced my Lamaze techniques by mentally putting myself back on the downward descent of that hill.

But when labor pains started and then persisted, happy visions of Autumn leaves weren’t cutting it. I had to switch gears (sorry, bad pun).

Pedal Pusher

Instead, I imagined myself slowly pedaling up a hill.

See, no matter how long or steep a hill was, I refused to get off and walk my bike. I usually switched into my lowest gear and just kept pedaling. I went so slow sometimes, the bike barely stayed upright. Even as the inclines became steepest just before the crest, as long as I kept pedaling I eventually got to the top.

So 30 years ago I approached each labor pain as if I were climbing a hill on my bike. Mentally I reached for the crest so I could coast along the ridge, back into the valley and to the next hill. It worked. I never got a polka dot jersey, but healthy Baby Ben arrived six hours later with just imaginary hills as my pain killer.

You Can Do It

There’s probably some profound lesson there, like pedaling up hills taught me more about life than coasting down them, you grow more from adversity, persistence wins the race, never give up . . . Shoot, that’s too deep for me.

But, you know, they say bicycling is a metaphor.


tips & techniques

I know this is a crazy busy card. I can just hear my daughter say – Mom! My eyes don’t even know where to go on this! I wanted to capture all the movement of climbing up a hill on a bicycle.

  • Inside the shaker box I created a hilly landscape with sequins to mimic falling leaves.
  • The wheels of the bicycle are attached with brads so they really can spin.
  • I put the bicycle at an upward slant with blue sequins falling upward to represent climbing a hill.
  • And fishtail banners illustrate the prize at the top.


The inside of the card is more simple with room to write and to say “You Can Do It!”

I’m thrilled to add this card to Curtain Call’s Anything Goes challenge. Happy 1st Anniversary to Curtain Call!

Here are the rest of the ingredients.

Thanks for hanging out with me. Enjoy the rest of the Tour – and Ride On!


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Sweet Comments

  1. This is stunning, both inside and out! I love all the details.

    In my former life I biked, but nothing like you’ve done. I’m allergic to hills, and not ashamed to walk once in a while, especially when the hills are mostly vertical. ;/
    leslie (crookedstamper) recently posted . . . ABNH: Sheet Cake ChallengeMy Profile

  2. I came here from Libby’s blog, and it was so worthwhile!! Thank you for your sharing about life, and your fantastic card.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I always love coming to your blog. your card is beautiful and your writing is so inspiring. I loved your story. Thanks for always sharing your talents.

  4. ok. that last comment was NOT supposed to be anonymous. it was from ME!

  5. This is gorgeous! And yes, cycling is very peaceful, as long as not in the city and for enjoyment, not exercise! LOL

  6. oh my goodness! this is so fun and adorable! love the basket of sequins:)
    Stacey Schafer recently posted . . . Birthday Celebration Giveaway WINNERSMy Profile

  7. What a stunning card! Love all of the details and sequins.

  8. This is fabulous! I love all the layers and all the colors — a feast for the eyes!
    Amy Sheffer recently posted . . . StampNation Summer Beach Vacation Blog HopMy Profile

  9. Oh my, this is AMAZING.
    Thanks for joining us at Curtain Call!
    ~amy~ recently posted . . . hippo birdie to danny♥My Profile


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