Thursday, June 18, 2009

Biking for Transportation

A few years ago I thought I could be green and get in shape in one fell swoop by using my bike. After a long and tiring ride to and from work followed by days of sore muscles, I gave up that idea. But my memory is short and the next year I tried again - after buying the biggest, cushiest gel seat I could find. My husband and I got the bikes out and went to the grocery store. It was grueling, but I kept up fairly well. The way back was more uphill and I arrived home a little after him, tired but triumphant. Somehow he seemed to guess that I hadn't ridden my bike to school much as a grueling ride was him trying to ride slow enough for me without going so slow he fell off the bike. :) Again with a few days of very sore muscles (which my husband didn't seem to have, darn him!) and the bike was abandoned for the year.

This year I have a new strategy, and it's working much better. I've still got the cushy gel seat, and I took a quick lesson from my husband on how to use my gear shift to make my ride easier - such a difference! I head out on my own and without putting pressure on myself to maintain a pace the rides are way more enjoyable, and with little soreness! So far I'm using the bike on nice days when an errand is around 3 km one way. I'd like to work up to not using a car for anything less than 5 km away, unless we need to transport something large. I've noticed a few things about biking.
1. The bigger the gel seat, the better. Why be uncomfortable?
2. Jeans get caught in the chain and tear. :( Tuck them inside your socks or wear something tight fitting.
3. Gear shift down on a hill. It makes a bigger difference than I thought.
4. Don't push your want this to be fun, not a chore.
5. Wear a helmet! You might feel a bit silly at first, but I like my life and don't want to forget it because I took a fall and knocked my head.

Maybe eventually I'll get to the point where the bike is my main mode of transportation during those nice Canadian months (both of them) and the car is alternative transportation.

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