The bicycle race

By Paulo Coelho

Life is a great bicycle race, whose goal is the fulfilment of one’s Personal Legend.
We all set off together, sharing our friendship and enthusiasm. But as the race progresses, that initial happiness fades before some very real challenges: tiredness, boredom, doubts about our own abilities.
We notice that a few friends have given up – they are still cycling, but only because they cannot stop in the middle of the road; there are a lot of them, pedalling dutifully along beside the support vehicle, talking amongst themselves.
We finally leave them behind, and then we come face to face with loneliness, unfamiliar bends in the road, mechanical problems with the bike. And after a while, we start to ask ourselves if it’s really worth all the effort.
Yes, it is. It’s just a question of not giving up.

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  1. Juhi says:

    Thanks Paulo,

    At this moment i exactly relate to this feeling of pedalling alone and of course my heart asks why and u have answered it.
    No matter what never give up, never give up on one’s own self.

    Thanks a ton,

  2. Wendy Espinoza says:


    estoy de acuerdo con tigo,todo con fe en Dios se puede lograr
    sin fe uno se pierde y termina tomando el camino equivocado… el mas facil.

  3. mariangela says:

    AMOR !!!


    Mari Raphael.

  4. Marmara says:

    Sim!!! Claro que vale a pena!!! Vale a pena viver a vida pelo que é!!! como podemos ter desanimo perante o maior presente de Deus (seja que Deus for)?!! E nem sequer fazemos anos!!! :)

  5. Nancy says:

    After reading the daily message I can’t help but ask myself. Where am I in my Personal Legend? What kind of bike rider am I? I believe I am pedalling along wanting to fullfil my Personal Legend but sticking close to the support vehicle. Can I improve? Time will only tell.

  6. Mergime says:

    It’s amazing how you manage to keep people motivated every single day with this beautiful, fantastic and motivating stories.
    I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking that way, and therefore, thank you very much Paulo!!

  7. Gie says:

    Hi all…my guidance to stay in this inevitable race, using the SWOT analysis :) Strength: hiring the BEST COACH; Weakness: (remain aware of our being)i.e: flesh & blood; Opportunity:
    try to extend utmost charity; Threat: beware of unhealthy competition, as well as the “cheering spectators”

  8. aditya says:

    Hi Paulo !

    I came across this “the bicycle race” about 2 years back, probably on wol site. A print out has since remained below the glass table top reminding me ‘not to give up’. In fact what i presently feel is that there is no destination, there is no full stop, journey itself is the destination !!? sounds ridiculaous but that is my ‘understanding’ at the moment.


  9. Anlao says:

    Great story, and as always, the right timing.
    I wish I could be as energetic as my companions on this site, but these days the side of the road does look inviting… at least those people have someone to talk to… someone to hug them when they’re crying… someone who can help them fix their bike…someone who can re-assure them that it wasn’t worth the effort anyway, but at least it will reassure them of something.
    Is it really worth the effort? I don’t know. Despite loneliness, confusion and pain, today I didn’t stop. And when the side of the road seemed inviting, I reminded myself that I did stop one day, thinking it could not get any worst. And I discovered that there is something worst: living with the remorse of giving up.
    Today I didn’t stop. And one day, I will find out if it’s worth the effort or not. But today I didn’t stop.

  10. Serene says:


    Someone recently gave me this advice, that all relationships are a risk. I think everything you put your heart to is a risk. but what’s life w/o juice pumping in your blood, yes?

    Merry Christmas Paulo, merry christmas all. going on ‘long leave’ this fri on. hugZ.

  11. Junior Iglesias says:

    Siempre espensado de que nuestras vidas es como una carrera con destino hasia la felicidad,y para llegar a ella nos escontramos con barios obstaculo en nuestros caminos para si desbiarnos de nuestras metas.Y en esos mometos es Donde muchos de nosotros nos queremos rendir. !pero la carrera es larga y tenemos que seguir asta el fin!. no son todos los que logram ese largo camino o esa larga jornada, pero si pienso que con la fe en dios todos se puede lograr.

  12. je suis du sud says:

    “Life is like a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” A. Einstein

  13. Tania Chilby says:

    Our journey is never ending, it makes it easier if we have faith in something and faith in ones self, but as long as we have the courage,to face the hills and the bends then we see that the path is not full of obstacles ,once we see with the eyes of spirit then we can see clearly the perfect divine plan .. these obstacles which include loneliness and mechanical problems are to see if we can get back on the bike again without being afraid…. if we fall off then get back on track…blessings Tania

  14. Beautiful.. very beautiful Paulo..

    And yes I’m doubting my abilities these days as I have a career-lifting unfinished task ! My legs are chained down to fear; fear of success maybe.. fear of soaring in my field like an eagle; a beautiful dream that always hunted me..
    But now that I’m getting closer to soaring in real life.. the eagle inside of me is about to give up.. about to leave the battle field.. about to betray the path..

    But after reading this eye-opener post.. I’m determined to send my fears into deep sleep for now, and I’ll abide by your advise of ” not giving up “.. maybe the unfinished task will find its way to light one day !
    And as you adviced in your ” The Valkyries ” : ” Never raise your hand against yourself again “..

    One concern though Paulo: How can we CONTINUE to believe in ourselves without distractions here or there; without letting those devilish powers around us, manifested in the form of humanbeings, shake our grounds ? How can we be RESISTANT to destruction ?
    Please answer me ..

  15. carlos carcelen flores says:

    Desearia saber si en peru puedo encontrar los libros “El alquimista+Cd”,las valkyrias y Pilgrimage”


  16. ana esperanza zaragoza says:

    hola paulo, primero que nada te mando un gran abrazo y beso enorme. se que este espacio es para darte ideas sobre tu flog, pero no se de que otra manera mandarte comentarios, pero bueno, aprovechare que estoy aqui y te cuento que acabo de comprar tu agenda 2008, me parece que esta muy buena, desde que la vi en la libreria sabia que debia de ser mia jajaj y así­ fue, y quede maravillada, sigue haciendo lo que haces como lo haces vas muy bien, bueno, cambia ya sabes para bien, me encanta como escribes, y espero algún dí­a llegar a ser tan buena e inspiradora como tu lo eres para tanta gente.

    besos paulo!

  17. Wendy Espinoza says:

    i’ve taken the long road in my race! i see short cuts but i’m afraid i will get lost, so i keep on pedaling and pedaling untill i’m exhausted. i stop and rest but i don’t give up i know the journey is long but i also know tha i’m getting near. i am so close to fulfill my personal legend i can feel it.

  18. Noor says:

    It’s just so amazing how you can compare our lives and what we go through to other things, like in here with the bicycle ride!
    It’s so true, we just have to continue the way and not give up, the ride would be worth it, I’m sure :)

  19. agnieszka says:

    Dear Paulo,

    OF COURSE!!!
    For me life is a journey, so whether is exciting or difficult,
    it’s still interesting and worth every minute.
    (Also, how many times we are even more excited before we reach our destination?)

    I think that we experience sorrow to notice the smile;
    the anger to see the peace
    and unfortunatelly the hate to see LOVE.

    We would probably never be able to be happy if we wouldn’t know unhappiness.

    And even these sad, dark moments can be precious for we can share them with our loved ones.
    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE and

    lots of love

  20. Leaf says:

    when I was very young I suffered a dangerous fever during which I had a very vivid dream. I was in a race and trudging through heavy mud whilst other people were floating past me some laughing some smiling pathetically.
    Over the years I have found many meanings to this dream, many interpretations, but I never give up the race of my personal legend.
    Thanking, Paulo, you re -inspired me at a crucial time, as you know.
    LOVE always

  21. Joanne says:

    I can associate this with what I keep on remining myself of, that is: God created the world for me to visit and I can never stop until I’m done. Whether the road ahead is clear or not does not make a difference as long as we continue to walk in the right direction to fulfil our dreams. The fact that I lay comfortably at home, in my workplace or with friends does not stop me to pack and leave to continue along my path…I’m always on the go as long as I walk along God’s lighted path.