Very recently, in a galaxy not so far away, we discussed that you don’t need a gym to exercise, that you can get your workout in by going outside and having fun. A great way to do that is to get on your bike and ride – you can ride to commute, to explore, or to exercise – but, if we’re being honest, we often let apprehensions stand in our way of ever getting on the bike. If we ride to commute, there is traffic to fear; if we ride to explore, there are weather conditions and unknown destinations to fear; and if we ride to exercise, there is intimidation and the pain of exertion to fear. Well, instead of fearing your ride, here are some ways to maximize your enjoyment on the bike, no matter why you ride.
RIDING FOR EXERCISE
The worst thing about riding a bike is that if you ride the same rides, or to the same places, enough times, you start to get “route fatigue”. You get so used to the route that you start to dread the ride you have in front of you, no matter how many miles you have left.
You don’t necessarily have to change the whole route, per se, just something about it. Maybe that means changing your gear, or the music you’re listening to, or even making it into a solo competition by seeing if you can pass more people on the ride than pass you. Whatever it is, the benefits, both physical and mental, will be huge.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF DIFFICULTY
Webster’s dictionary defines “exercise” as (just kidding, I’d never do that to you.) Exercise is inherently difficult and if we’re not willing to step outside of our comfort zones, we will get very little accomplished. I know that riding into the wind is hard, and I know that riding up a hill is hard, and I know that riding up a hill, into the wind is super duper hard, but don’t shy away from it. Take it on and show the elements, and yourself, that you won’t quit. Yea, you may average 6 mph on certain hills or stretches, but 6 mph is a helluva lot faster, and will take you a helluva lot farther than 0 mph. Embrace the challenge.
RIDING FOR FUNSIES
If you want to get a ride in, but don’t know where to go, you’re halfway there. Don’t go anywhere in particular, just go. Get on your bike, make a couple of random turns and explore the city around you. This does a couple things: 1) It removes the scheduled element of your ride, and 2) gives you the best opportunity to learn your area. If you ride to the park on a consistent basis, you know which way to go and how long it should take you to get there. If you ride with no destination in mind, you’re not working against any clock and your ride is truly free. Live in a city that has many distinct neighborhoods? Saddle up and get exploring. You’ll know your surroundings in no time.
(Bonus: To turn up the funsies level even more, invite a friend along in your quest for exploration.)
SO MANY FUN TOYS
Think of a bike that has some personality, some pizzazz. I bet you’re seeing a bike that is painted some bright color, with colored wheels, and maybe a basket on the front with some streamers attached, right? While these style choices will definitely score you some points in the bike-personality category, there is so much more we can do to make our bikes, and our bike rides, an extension of ourselves (aka, weird). Lists like this one are a dime a dozen on the interwebs these days, but the good news about that is, there are untold numbers of bike accessories you can buy to enhance your ride, and your look. The most important of these accessories, especially if you love to go on night rides, are lights. Long gone are the days of the standard red/white blinking lights. We are finally in the Gilded Age where we have options like this, and this. Don’t just be seen at night; be seen, at night.
Until next time – ride safe.