They built a biking trail near my house. I hadn’t been on a bike in years, and wanted to take up bike riding for fitness. So I bought a bike.
What I discovered is that it doesn’t matter what kind of bike you buy, as long as you are comfortable riding it. If the bike is not comfortable, you won’t want to ride. So I gave my new bike to my daughter, and bought a different one. This changed everything for me.
I went to a bike store and had them tell me what bike would be right for me. (You’ll want a street bike for pavement or trail bike for dirt trails.) Then they fitted the bike to me. Apparently I have freakishly long legs, but they finally had everything adjusted to fit just right.
Of course, I also bought a helmet, sunglasses, and a little pouch to carry my phone, spare tube, bike tools, and a Larabar under the seat. That was enough to get started. Later, I added a hand pump, head and tail lights, and bike gloves. My friend gave me an odometer for my birthday, which I love.
My new bike is lightweight and comfortable. After riding it for the first time, I realized I had probably never owned a bike that was comfortable, which is why I never rode much.
This was two years ago. I’ve ridden more in the last two years than the sum total of my entire life!
What I love about Biking
When it’s hot in the summer, I do less running and more biking. Biking strengthens leg muscles I need for running, but it’s easier to do in the hot weather. In the winter, I like to take some spinning classes for the same reason, when it’s too cold to run outdoors. Biking is a great cross-train for runners.
Biking also doesn’t have the impact that running has. It’s so much fun to bike with a group of people. It’s easier to share this activity with friends with varying levels of fitness than it is with running.
Trail riding vs. Street
It’s great if you can find trails near your house to ride. Check your local park district or search online for maps of trails in the area.
If you trail ride a lot, be careful if you switch to the street. You can get used to riding on trails and not worrying about cars. If you’re on the street, you need to worry about cars. Wear something bright and always ride defensively.
Check your local bike shop or park district for seminars on bike safety and maintenance classes. These are quick and fun, and you may meet some new people that share your enthusiasm for this fun activity!