Friday, September 13, 2013

Becoming a Biker

I have never really enjoyed cycling.  For me, it's a way to get from Point A to Point B that is a bit faster than running and a bit slower than driving, although that really depends on traffic and lights and parking.  Bike riding makes my butt hurt, and road bikes specifically make my neck and wrists hurt.  I have obtained some amazing bruises from falling off bikes while clipped in to the pedals.  (Can one even "fall off" when one is still attached to the bicycle?)  Bike riding and I just don't get along.

However, there's the little issue about it being a good cross-training exercise to strengthen knees for running.  And then there's that other issue where there are some great races that involve biking, like triathlons.  And Iron Man.  That one is a vague aspiration that I think maybe possibly I would like to do, one day.  Maybe.  But there's this whole biking problem!!

Several of my family members are getting pretty serious with biking, so I hear about it a lot.  I went to an REI seminar in early 2013 that was specifically about biking for women, and I learned about the difference in how bike seats are made to accommodate a female body as opposed to a male body.  This kind of started the wheels turning, and I asked myself whether I was so uncomfortable perhaps because I was riding bikes that flat out did not fit me at all!

So a few weeks ago I took the first big step and bought myself a new bike.  (The last time I got my own bike was in fifth grade.  I still have it.  My knees pretty much whack my chin with every pedal.)  I did not want top of the line, but I also didn't want a crummy beater either.  So I ended up with a Fuji Absolute hybrid.  According to my personal bike "experts," Fuji is a respectable company.  The only bike name I know is Huffy, so I'll have to take their word on that.  It's a fairly light bicycle, which is amazing compared to the ten-ton monstrosity I've struggled occasionally to ride over the past few years.  It doesn't have a special seat or pedals or anything, but if I stick with this, I'm sure I'll make some changes.  For now, it's the first step to have a bike that is the right height and length and weight for me to be comfortable.

I brought my new bike home and it sat in the garage looking new and shiny for over a week.  I actually RAN from my house to my office twice before I finally decided to try riding the bike!!  But I did finally take the new bike out and we have now survived three commutes together.  I enjoy that I can get in additional workouts when I would usually be sitting in traffic, and I think my legs will thank me when they stop complaining about being tired.  Perhaps this is the beginning of a beautiful bicycling relationship...

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