Freelancing Lessons From A 16-Mile Bike Ride: Tahoe City To Squaw Valley And Back

Perseverance, grit, determination — all things you need to grow a freelance business and tackle a 16-mile ride in the Tahoe mountains with little kids.

Bike Ride Tahoe City to Squaw Valley And Back

Eight years ago, our family headed to Lake Tahoe for a long weekend of play. We rented a cute, little house right outside Tahoe City and had a blast playing at the beach, checking out the little shops in town, and riding bikes.

Now you may be wondering why I’m writing about a weekend getaway I took eight years ago. I’m slowly restructuring my digital footprint to better support my future goals. This means moving all relevant blog posts from my agency site to this site — and this post from 2011 made the cut because the lessons learned are just as relevant today as they were back then (even if the photo is totally blurry)!

That weekend, we rented bikes and rode 16 miles from Tahoe City to the Village at Squaw Valley, then back to Tahoe City.

It was an adventure, to say the least.

  • We were only planning on riding bikes for a few hours. But once on the bikes, we decided to ride all the way to Squaw Valley. After all, it wasn’t that far away.
  • Riding bikes isn’t very difficult, so our naive selves figured we could do it no problem. We didn’t quite have all of the pertinent information when making that decision though.
  • When someone told us it would be an eight-mile trip, we didn’t realize they meant eight miles each way and definitely weren’t prepared for, or planning on, taking a 16-mile ride through the mountains at a higher elevation than we’re used to.
  • This meant we weren’t exactly equipped with what we needed. We had two water bottles and some granola bars and figured it’d be enough for our bike-riding adventure. It definitely was not.

Thankfully, the weather was gorgeous. It was sunny and warm, the mountains were still covered in snow, and there were patches of snow in the shady areas along the trail. It was the perfect day for a ride through the beautiful Tahoe National Forest.

The Realities Of Our Ride

The adventure was a bit overly-ambitious, as neither of my children had learned how to ride a two-wheel bike!

We rented bikes and single-wheel tag-along bike attachments for the kids, which meant each adult had a kid attached to the back of our bike. I hadn’t worked out in any capacity in at least five years, I wasn’t in great shape, and I probably should have thought through the notion of dragging along a kindergartener who didn’t want to pedal.

  • For the first 20 minutes of our scenic bike ride, Natalie cried and begged to go back and turn in the bikes. She was so scared — you should have seen the evil side-eye we got from other families on the bike trail!
  • About six miles in, Carter started falling asleep on the bike and we had to yell at him every few minutes to wake him back up so he wouldn’t fall off!

Eventually, we made it to Squaw Valley, exhausted, thirsty, hungry, and triumphant.

We were so proud of ourselves and celebrated with a fabulous meal.

The two things we didn’t think through were how stiff we’d be after sitting through the meal, and how much we wouldn’t want to ride all the way back to Tahoe City. At one point during the ride, Carter wasn’t pedaling so I was dragging him uphill. My legs were burning and I was exhausted and I wasn’t sure I was going to make it back.

As I cursed our decision, I kept pedaling and started thinking about how much this experience parallels what it’s like to be a freelancer.

Freelancing can be incredibly tough because you’re often going at it alone and you don’t always have all of the information you need.

  • Sometimes you must seek out help.
  • Sometimes you need to trust your gut and follow your intuition.
  • Sometimes you face challenges where the only option is to go for it, do your best, and hope it all works out.

Building a freelance business can also be challenging because it requires you to be flexible and nimble. And, it requires you to be able to make decisions and either adapt or course-correct when those decisions don’t pan out the way you expect them to.

As a freelancer…

  • You’ll encounter bumps in the road and need to navigate around potholes, climb over big hills, and watch out for unexpected obstacles.
  • You’ll be forced to pull over and take a break, make detours, or slow down to get the lay of the land as you enter new territory.
  • You’ll notice experienced people with all of the right knowledge and gear flying past you. And, there will be those who are just getting started and know even less than you do.
  • You’ll feel exhausted and energized — some days you’ll feel on top of the world as if you can do can anything. Other days, you may consider giving up and quitting.

As you keep moving forward and making progress, you’ll marvel at the world around you and feel proud of what you’ve accomplished.

When we finally arrived back in Tahoe City, all of us heaved a sigh of relief and celebrated our accomplishment with ice cream! We weren’t sure if we could do it, but we gave it our best, kept going, and got it done.

Running a freelance business requires you to do the same thing.

Even when you’re unsure of yourself or uncertain of the outcome, you need to keep taking action, keep moving forward, and keep trying because where you end up and who you become along the way are so much better than you can ever imagine.

Here’s what I want you to remember: When you feel like giving up or moving on, don’t! Embrace perseverance and grit and stick with it. Stop for a bit and take a break to recharge, focus on your destination, then downshift your gears and keep going. You may be moving slower, but you’ll still be moving closer to your goals.

Trust me, you’ve got this.