Saturday, June 6, 2015

A Return to Biking and New Goals for 2015

For all who do not know - in May of 2014, I pulled my 29 year old bicycle out of storage and started riding again. Why?  Glen and I had booked a 16-day trip to Prague, Vienna and Budapest in the fall. He is an avid biker, so I decided to add a full day bike trip in Prague and a second in Vienna to our self-directed tour organized by David Manley at Go Real Europe. The second was labeled as dead easy - the first would be more of a challenge with a lot of hills to climb. I needed to start riding again or I wouldn't keep up.

Getting back on a bicycle after so many years was interesting.  Fortunately I owned a great quality 5-speed commuter that was still in great shape. It just took a little oil and tuning up to hit the road. From the first push of the pedal, I realized you never loose the knack of riding.  Off we went on our first short hop. BUT, oh my. the behind did not enjoy the experience and I tired after a really short distance. I am a great walker - but just didn't use those pedalling muscles much. Fortunately, Richmond where I live is very flat so I didn't have to deal with hills while I built up endurance.

By the time we left for Europe in late September, I was consistently riding 20K a day. A side benefit - I lost 20 pounds. The daily ride also helped me deal with the tremendous stress of trying to finish my first book which was well past its completion date and I was sleeping better. Vancouver had beautiful weather almost every day that summer. I loved the feel of wind in my face and how I came home with a clear, quiet mind.  One down side of riding daily was numb private parts.  It took a few tries to find a seat that worked for me, but once that was in place I became a riding maniac. Unfortunately, over the cold, wet winter I lost momentum.

By spring 2015, I was struggling to get back to consistently riding. I was starting to make progress, but then left for 10 days to visit family. When I returned it just seemed constant obstacles arose to keep me off the road. Yesterday I woke up committed. I would get out on that bike.  Fate also stepped in with a much needed push. My husband forgot his pants at home and needed me to bring them to work. You heard me - forgot his pants.

Glen rides to work everyday. Once and awhile he forgets part of his work clothes. He was stuck in the office in his lycra biking gear - not a hit with the company. So instead of my normal 20K, I adjusted the loop to pass by his office. This unfortunately meant instead of a more box shaped route that constantly changed into and out of the wind - it was a long straight shot each way. Riding with the wind at my back was dead easy, but riding straight into the wind for a long stretch after my break was challenging, I'm proud to say I was triumphant and finished all 20K - probably partly due to the strong legs from finishing singer/songwriter Jody Quine's recent squat challenge.

While I rode I thought back over my interview with pro-cyclist, trainer and motivational speaker, Leah Goldstein of No Limits and No Finish Line Living. While I don't want to train for racing, I did need to set some goals to keep myself motivated.  I came up with 2 -

1. Buy a newer, lighter bike with more gears (Leah - still concerned about a klutz like me with clip-in shoes, though I am seriously considering the purchase of an indoor bike next fall!) BUT I had to earn it by increasing my speed and strength until I was riding that 20K in 5th gear for the majority of the ride regardless of the wind I faced.

2. Finish my weight loss journey. The 20 pounds I lost was about 2/3 of my original goal. It was time to get serious about getting those last few extra pounds of unhealthy belly fat off. I want a real waist to join my slender arms and legs.

The course is set, the prize in view.  Time to get to work - back on my bike!


  1. show all the qualities in this piece that you do in life. You are creative, determined, passionate, a great writer, friend and spouse, know how to set goals and reach them...then setting new ones instead of resting in complacency or being satisfied with the status quo. Most of all, you are a great inspiration. I have a lot of work to do if I am to remain your doppleganger.

    1. Wow my dear friend. You are honestly the busiest person I know. I have a long way to go to keep up with you my doppelganger, but thanks for the pat on the back. It helps to keep me inspired.