08/31/2011 05:58 pm ET Updated Oct 31, 2011

Lessons Learned While Riding a Bike During Hurricane Irene

"You do not have to be a hurricane, to turn things around" Loesje

Everyone on the East Coast was in panic mode this week preparing for a hurricane. While Irene has now come and gone, and devastated much in her path, it was also a very sensationalized event in the media.

The Weather Channel had this to say "Irene is a hurricane that poses an extraordinary threat and is one that no one has yet experienced in North Carolina to the mid-Atlantic to the Northeast and New England." The Weather Channel called Irene ''the storm of a lifetime." Did we forget about Katrina? One Twitter user wrote "If this hurricane doesn't flip cars, I'm boycotting The Weather Channel."

Like so many, I prepared for the hurricane by stocking up on food and water. Everywhere you went people seemed scared, overwhelmed and nervous. I don't think it helped much that this hurricane followed an East Coast earthquake that happened earlier in the week. I heard extremely religious people preaching on the train about the final days and God's wrath. The mayor of my city shut down all public transportation in preparation, so along with 5 million people in "the city that never sleeps" I was stuck and trapped, a virtual prisoner in my own home.

Saturday night around 6p.m., the very beginning of the storm had begun to show its ugly head in New York City. The rain began and the wind was starting to blow ferociously. I was sitting in the house praying for the best, but prepared for the worst. I was going crazy just sitting around and waiting for something to happen.

At that moment I decided to take back some control and go for a bike ride. The streets where empty and the stores where all closed. With the storm on the horizon, I began riding my bike -- almost like it was the last time I would ever ride it. I felt extremely alive because I was not allowing myself to be paralyzed by a force out of my control. While riding in the rain, I observed that life is just like riding a bike.

When you ride a bike you must keep moving to maintain balance and you must also learn the art of steering. Going too fast or to slow can sometimes make for difficult riding. When you ride a bike (in low gear) the quicker you pedal the slower you go. Just like in life, sometimes we get so overwhelmed hustling around we really don't go very far. Sometimes in life you have to be strong and preservere in one area at a time. Just like riding a bike, the harder you pedal the more ground you cover.

When you ride a bike, watch for dangers coming and try to avoid them. Always look ahead unless you have a specific reason to look back, and do the same in life. Focusing on the past in life can sometimes blur your vision for what's ahead. When you ride a bike, the road is not always going to be flat, and sometimes it's better to explore off-road biking for more excitement.

It's also okay to fall while riding; just try not to get hurt to the point where you become fearful of not getting back on your bike. Life is filled with bumps and challenges, and exploring what's not right in front of you may present some adversity, but it also builds character. Even when we fail, we must be strong enough to get back up and keep moving.

I finally made it home, soaking wet, but feeling extremely exhilarated. I no longer felt like I was sitting around waiting for something bad to happen, and I turned the day into one I'll never forget. James E. Starrs had this to say about bike riding "Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling." This is the best insight I learned from the storm. My prayers and sympathy go out to everyone effected by Hurricane Irene.