The summer of cycling

BicycleNearly two months in, and I’m still biking on a regular basis. For me, this is a personal milestone of fitness, the longest run of exercise I’ve done since I was a kid. And I even look forward to it every day, which is not something I was able to say about my stints on the exercise bike and those Wii sports games I did for a bit.

After extensive scouting of the surrounding three or four miles around my home, I’ve figured out two good 45-minute routes that have decent sidewalks and aren’t plagued with sharp hills. This was trickier than I first realized, since so many of the streets in our fairly packed suburban city don’t have sidewalks at all. And because this is Detroit, drivers care not one whit for looking out for cyclists and thus I am not biking on a street if I can help it.

One sign of getting into all of this is that I’ve been gradually buying various accessories — new gym shorts, a new helmet, biking sunglasses (faux-kleys, I call them, since they were $8), and even a small pink MP3 player that I’ve loaded with mostly techno and fast BPM tunes. Yesterday for Father’s Day I was given the go-ahead to pick up a new bike too, a much lighter hybrid one to go along with my heavy-duty mountain bike.

I took the new bike down to one of our nicer parks for a ride last night, which ended up not being as enjoyable as I’d hoped. It was way too muggy, for starters, and trying to get a feel for a new bike while riding an unfamiliar course was stressful.

Sometimes getting out there is hard — I don’t have a lot of energy that day or the first couple of miles really hurts my thighs as I push up hills. But sooner or later I end up in this zone where my mind switches off and I’m just biking and listening to music and feeling like I could go on for a long time.

Weight loss-wise, it’s helped although it hasn’t been a stark transformation. I think I’ve lost around 15 pounds from early May (coupled with getting back to a strict low-carb diet). I feel… tighter, I guess is the word I use. A little more trim. I read that cycling uses a lot more than your leg muscles for a good core workout, so I’ll take it. In any case, I’m not totally embarassed when I see myself biking in store windows.

In other biking news (because you’re so starved for it, I know), I’ve taken the training wheels off my kids’ bikes and am trying to teach them how to ride properly. It’s been challenging. They don’t like to fall and I don’t blame them, so it ends up being a lot of encouragement to try again and me hunched over, running, while I hold their seats.

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4 thoughts on “The summer of cycling

  1. Atherne June 22, 2015 / 1:52 pm

    I’ve taken my beloved pink bike down off the rack but haven’t been out yet. Thanks for the encouragement, I shall ride this very week.

  2. Bryan June 22, 2015 / 3:48 pm

    Dude, congrats! Keep it up!

  3. Carol June 22, 2015 / 4:57 pm

    Regarding teaching kids to ride a bike, I will pass on the great advice someone gave me when my son was getting frustrated trying to learn. Get them a cheap Razer scooter first. They will learn to balance on the scooter. Once they can balance on the scooter, put them back on the bike. My son was able to ride his bike in the first try after this.

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