I am not what you would call a sports or exercise enthusiast. I’m not lazy, exactly, but there’s very little in that realm that interests me. I do like swimming, but making that happen takes money and too much time. Walking is nice, but hardly thrilling. And kayaking, while awesome, is a once-a-year thing at most for me.
However, I have found an excellent source of both exercise and transportation: my trusty Schwinn bike. I bought it several years ago (in the pre-child era, so we’re talking six or seven years at least) with the good intention of riding that everywhere. I think that lasted a couple of hot summer days, after which I’d only pull it out once in a while.
A few weeks ago a strange compulsion came over me and I got the bike out of the shed, brought it to a bike shop for a tune-up, and started taking it out for a spin every day. You know how awesome it is to rediscover something you used to love doing, stopped doing, and long forgot about it? That’s me and biking.
There’s something exhilerating about biking that makes me not mind the actual exercise portion. I think it’s the sense of speed and freedom. I’m able to head out of my house and go on much longer and farther excursions that I could walking, and recently I’ve taken up biking to work on the days I don’t have to shuttle the kids around. It’s just 15 minutes or so each way, but to me it feels like an adventure. Plus, it’s turning into a great time to just listen to all of this music I’ve collected and hardly ever have time to enjoy.
Cycling is also a good way to really notice the world — or at least see it in a different way. I don’t really notice much while driving other than the road and other cars, and while my perception is up while walking, I don’t cover as much territory. Plus, with sidewalks, parking lots, paths, and roads all legitimate avenues, I get to explore different routes. The other day I found a nature preserve two streets away that I never knew existed and rode alongside a hopping bunny for a while.
My wife, who is currently pregnant with our fourth child, has been absolutely awesome in giving me the go-ahead to leave the house to get a half-hour or so of biking in each night. It’s part of the marital give-and-take, and I think she knows that I’ve been needing a bit of solitude in the midst of the chaos of work and home.
A part of me has wide-eyed dreams that this will re-kickstart my weight loss too, which would be fantastic after a couple of years staying at my current plateau. Even if not, it’s great to have a hobby that gets me out of the house and doing something physical. Here’s hoping it lasts. And don’t even remind me that… winter is coming. Eventually. Exercise bikes aren’t quite the same.