I noticed in my local newspaper on last Monday, that this week is the National Ride Your Bike to Work Week. With the higher price of gas these days, riding your bike is not only a great exercise, but can save you a bit of money. May is also National Bicycling Month.
I am getting more and more excited about riding my bicycle. It is a wonderful form of exercise that is very interesting because you get to experience the great outdoors and have the opportunity to ride with and get to know a group of like-minded bicyclists.
You may be wondering “what does it cost” to get a half-way decent bicycle – one that will serve you for a few years at least. You can spend way over $10,000 for a bicycle, but there are a number of fairly nice bikes in the $250 -400 range. My bicycle is about 25 years old and I paid $850 for it when it was new. It is still a very nice bicycle, a little outdated, but everything works great.
I recently took my bike in to a local shop to have new tires and tubes put on, and to give it a good overall alignment and adjustment. The way it rides now hasn’t felt better in years! If you have a bicycle, take it in and have it looked at. Most small shops are very competent and will let you know what it needs and whether it is a good fit for what you want to do.
Safety is a big issue with bicycling, especially since we many times share the road with vehicles. A good fitting helmet is a necessity. A few companies make great bicycle helmets. My favorite is Giro. They make a wide range of helmets – all colors and all different styles.
I am finding out that if I just have 20 to 30 minutes, I can still get a decent amount of exercise on my bicycle. I have a few 30 minute “courses” around my home area. I like to push fairly hard, it gets my heart going and I am building muscle and cardio endurance. When I have more time, going for about an hour ride is more involved – but still I am up for it.
My goal for this summer and fall is to do at least a 50 mile ride, and possibly a 100 miles. It is also important to have experience riding in a group. Most local bike shops sponsor a few rides each week. Contact one of them and let them know that you are looking to ride with a group and want some coaching and instruction about rules and etiquette. They usually have a “new rider” group that you will feel comfortable in.
If you have thought at all about riding a bicycle, give it some more thought. You may even catch some “bicycle passion” and become a 100 miler a day kind of person. This will take a while, but don’t be too surprised if you end up loving the sport.