ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A FITNESS activity that’s highly beneficial, but not too hard on your body? Maybe you’re creeping up on middle-age (what is that now anyway, 60, 65?), and the health club scene is not working for you anymore.
Do you like to get outdoors for your exercise?
I was once a runner, but back problems made pounding the pavement too painful and demanding on my framework. I needed something less jarring, but just as aerobic. Does that sound like you? I also tried golf, but for me it was too slow, too expensive, and had little to do with fitness.
Maybe your fitness level isn’t what it once was, but you want to get it back and you’d like a sport that you can start off in a small way, and develop it into something more later. Maybe you’ve never really had a good fitness level, you’re sick of being flabby, and you’ve made up your mind to finally do something about it.
But what will you do?
The answer can be found in the bicycle. Two wheeled. Three wheeled. Mountain bike. Road bike. Hybrid. There is bike to fit your needs, and a level of bike riding to fit your lifestyle.
The planet is on a roll.
There are more and more people taking up bikes and bike riding than ever before. When I was first exploring the cycling world, a long-time cycling friend of mine said, “Lloyd, this is one sport that you can make your own. Take it wherever you want to take it.” And he was right! You can ride solo, or make it a social event and ride with a group. You can ride hard, or you can ride easy. You can ride far and see the countryside, or you can ride in your own neighborhood. You can race if you’re so inclined. You can ride in charity events or simple club rides to the coffee shop. Or you can pedal through town on a piece of bicycle art like this from Vanilla Cycles, and just look awesome!
Is a bike a bike?
Cyclists are a diverse bunch, and bicycles are equally so. Perhaps you’ve thought that a bike, is a bike, is a bike. Well, you’d be wrong. Here are just a few of the ways you can make bike riding your own sport, riding a bike that fits your purpose.
The Roadie: So named because he or she rides a “road bike”. That’s skinny tires rolling on smooth pavement. There are fast riders, slow riders, social riders and solo riders.
The Randonneur: This is a highly self-sufficient, endurance type roadie that loves the long ride—very long! Rides often last from 1 to 4 days.
The Cyclotourist: This is generally a roadie who likes to travel far and wide, and enjoys destination-hopping. Trips can last for days, or years. (Read the Vogel's story, it's a treat.)
So far I’ve only mentioned cycling on road bikes. But there are many other options.
The Commuter: A commuter may ride any style of bike from a road bike, to a mountain bike, to a hybrid bike. Commuters are on a mission. They ride to work, to the store, even to pick up the kids at school.
The Mountain Biker: Guess where they ride. In the mountains and on off-road trails on heavier bikes built for rough terrain.
The Fashionista: If you can think of bicycles as a fashion accessory, you get the idea behind cycling chic. It’s the culture of comfortable urban cycling in fashionable clothes and accessories. It often involves gorgeous bicycles with classic lines, and stylish riders, many of whom are female—but not all.
The options for bike riding are virtually limitless. There are sit-down bikes, called recumbents, three-wheeled machines for stability, and foldable bikes you can carry with you on trips. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, in excellent physical condition, or overweight, rich or poor, live in the city or in the country. Cycling can be a sport, a mode of transportation, your fitness machine, or your fashion statement. So, get some fresh air. See the countryside. Revisit your own neighborhood. Get some exercise, a better level of fitness, meet new people, and have fun.
Get a bike… and ride it! Feel like a kid again. Make cycling what you want it to be.