Quality Time Spent on My Bicycle, Cycling
A Great Way to Exercise, Be Energized
You have reached the outskirts of the city, miles of country roads stretch out before you, you start to feel a sense of freedom - as you venture out and take an exhilarating cycle on your trusty bike.
Whether with friends, a cycling team, or alone, there's nothing like the feeling of cruising along on a road away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
It's a great way to exercise, you can get out on the road or in the woods every day or 3 to 4 times a week; it helps to clear one's head making one feel good.
I started doing some long distance cycling when I was in my early 40's, spending quite a lot of time on country roads where the traffic was less dense, enjoying almost every minute of it. After 5 years I stopped but remember the good times I had while doing it.
The Cycling Experience - - An Inspiring One
I have never really had a bucket list, but I've now started one, that of my 'Time Spent On My Bike, Cycling,' is the first one I am crossing off.
If you are thinking of taking up long distance biking there are some tips in this writing that will help you to get started and hopefully make it a regular sporting activity.
I had owned a bicycle for quite some time but it wasn't one that was really suitable for long distance riding; I would use it to travel about the area I lived in mostly as a mild form of exercise. Then a friend who had bought a bicycle persuaded me to do some longer distances on my old bike while accompanying him. After much persuasion I gave it a try and found it quite enjoyable - getting used to the exertion involved was the main hurdle to overcome.
After 6 months of working from home and saving I bought myself a brand new Trek mountain bike. It could be used on the road as well as on off-road areas. It looked great and was solidly built; I put it to good use and riding was a way of getting fit and found the entire experience inspirational.
Sometimes when you cycle you get on a natural high, it is something to do with endorphines kicking in; I think it's a combination of the feeling of moving at speed out in the open air and the endorphine rush that takes over. Endorphines are the body's natural painkillers that usually are present when a person experiences pain.
Cycling Equipment and Tips for Cyclists
Firstly, a good road or mountain bike is essential.
Starting out one can use walking or running shoes then later progress to cycling shoes. I used gym and running shoes and they were fine.
A pair of lycra shorts are essential to prevent chafing and to provide comfort on long distances.
A cycling jersey (shirt) - they are made for the varying weather conditions that one has to contend with. They are normally of a bright colour so you can be visible to motorists and pedestrians. Cycling jackets can also be worn for cold weather. I was a bit unconventional and wore a T-shirt. In cooler weather I donned a light-weight sports jacket. Long track-pants might be necessary at times.
Proper cycling gloves - you will be surprised how tired and sore your hands get gripping the handlebars.
Special biking glasses and a good helmet. A helmet is essential to protect one's skull in the unfortunate occurrence of an accident.
A water bottle is an absolute must, as well as a water bottle holder that is attached to your bike. Have 2 bottles if possible especially in hot weather and when doing extra long distances. Special energy drinks that can be mixed with water are needed for electrolyte intake; these can be purchased at supermarkets or sports outlets.
A small pouch with a few tools and puncture repair kit, this can be fitted below your bike seat. A spare tube is handy if you have space for it.
A pump to inflate tubes - the smaller the better for convenience of carrying them and weight considerations.
If your'e going for a leisurely ride where you want to stop for a break, take a small backpack with sandwiches and a beverage. This is also suitable when doing off-road cycling on a mountain bike.
A cycle computer is a handy tool to have, you can gauge your speed and distance, average speed and more.
With the right equipment you are ready to start with distances that are not too long , gradually increasing them as your body adjusts accordingly. Do some other form of exercise if possible, especially for the upper-body. Prepare yourself mentally too by reading books and online literature.
Expanding My Horizons - Accomplishing More - Trailing Off
Having spent 6 months struggling with distances on my old bicycle, I was now able to enjoy a better cycling experience on my mountain bike that had 7 gears. The quality of my new acquisition as well as the extra gears helped greatly on uphill climbs and altogether, for that matter. I went out of town with my friend or alone more often now, making sure I had enough liquid to drink always. One has to put up with heat, cold, wind, rain and snow in some countries; uphill climbs are especially tiring.
After 7 months I bought a little cycle computer which I attached to my handlebars; it has a wire leading down to a type of sensor that is attached to the inner wheel to record different measurements. It's nice to know your distance, speed and average speed. The time could be checked on it as well.
I also did some off-road or mountain biking; there is a valley in the city where there is a trail that crosses a narrow river, the trail then leads back into the suburbs. Other areas out of town also had some trails that I explored at times. Twice I went with friends to a mountainous area where there are pathways and gravel roads that wind through forests and rough terrain. Out there I was in my element with beautiful scenery all around.
After 2 years I took part in my first cycle tour which was a distance of 90 km, starting at a shopping complex in the city and venturing into the outskirts of the city then returning to the complex.
You get put into different categories on a tour, I remember joining the wrong group initially and was soon redirected to the correct one. It was gruelling considering it was a race; I managed to complete it and went home for a shower and a good rest afterwards. One thing with cycling is that it can make one feel very tired after a long ride. You feel as if you have to sleep for a while. This can occur on the same day or a day or two afterwards.
Cycling has its difficult moments, like when you're way out of town and tiredness suddenly overwhelms you, or when you get a puncture and have to repair it. Going up hills can be hard-going, sometimes you just have to walk and push your bike up.
A month later I completed a second cycle tour which was 110 km. There are different strategies to use in a tour; one of them which I neglected to use, is to stay with a group of people in the race rather than try to race ahead of them. Invariably if you try to race ahead the group soon catches up and passes you - your energy gets depleted trying to go it on your own.
After this I didn't do any more tours, I'm not sure why, I think I'd achieved what I wanted to in this area and now wanted to concentrate on using my bicycle for enjoyment and as a form of exercise. Another year passed of some pleasant riding then gradually my distances became less. The last 2 years my cycling was aimed mostly at keeping fit and going on excursions to the sea-front, and once to the local harbour to check out the ships.
In March 2003 I stopped cycling and moved residence. Later I sold my bike because I needed the money and wasn't using it. Bicycle riding was a memorable, rewarding experience, well worth the effort required; if I ever buy a bike again I think I'd like to use it for riding on nature trails.