I love a front page story in the Boston Globe today on old folks learning to bicycle. Some are doing it for health and fitness reasons, others so they can ride with their children or even grandchildren! And of course, given the ridiculous price of gas today, others are doing it so they have a viable transportation alternative. For whatever reason folks are grabbing two wheels and a set of handlebars, I'm all for it!
I love to ride my bike. I first become enamored with bicycling when I registered for the Boston to NYC AIDS Ride about 10 years ago (eeh gads, that's hard to believe it was that long ago). Of course, similarly to when I signed up for the half-marathon last April, I wasn't a runner, before registering for the AIDS ride, I didn't even own a bike. So, I signed up on one day and then had to go buy a bike a couple days later. (By the way, I still have this same bike and I love it. I get very emotionally attached to things--my bike, my car, my computer, pairs of shoes. It's a little odd, I know, but I have a friend who has similar feelings about inanimate things in her life, as well, so at least my strangeness has company.)
And then I started training--seriously training. It was the first time I had ever trained for anything. I never was into sports as a kid, so this was pretty new for me. But, I did it! I rode two then three days a week, with hill-training one day and an increasingly long ride on the weekend. When the time came for the ride, I was ready. I rode every mile--all 362 of them--up every hill, and every long stretch. My first century was a breeze. I never once stopped and walked my bike, although a lot of people did. I was never the first one in at the end of each day--far from it--but I was never the last either--far from it.
What an enormous sense of accomplishment. Plus, I was in great shape--my legs were dynamite! I'm a big advocate of using some kind of charity athletic event to jumpstart a workout / fitness regimen. So many of my friends have done it, and it really works: the cause gives you an emotional commitment and motivation. The organization usually has some kind of organized training group along with a support network. And, most importantly, I think, you have a goal. It's hard to just go out there and workout or run or whatever it is without something pushing you along and that you are striving for. Doing it with a group, or even a friend, is extra motivation, as there's nothing like a little competition to get the feet and a..s moving.
I still ride, although I haven't done a really long ride for a while. Maybe it's time. My honey just this past weekend bought a brand new shiny red bike to toodle around on the Cape. She's very excited about it. So, watch for more posts about biking.
Unfortunately, WW is as stingy as can be about allocating activity points for biking--only 3 for a full hour of moderate-level biking. But alas, what bicycling does for one's sense of well-being far outlasts the few points you earn.