I think there is a common misunderstanding out there that if you are a bike rider, you have to ride FAST. Like “hauling-ass” fast! Like “can’t catch your breath” fast.
If you subscribe to that theory, I feel sorry for you. You are missing out on the world around you.
Here’s a challenge: The next ride you do, do it slowly…. Like REAL slow. Like “no sweating” slow…. View this ride not as a workout, but as a journey of your 5 senses. The slower you ride, the more your senses can take stuff in.
I didn’t learn this lesson until I became a bike to work commuter. I have always been a “workout” rider. Balls to the wall fast rides were the only kind of rides I knew how to do. Sure, they were fun, to a certain degree. I started hating the rides though. And when you start hating ANYTHING, what happens? You STOP DOING IT. I did not want this to be the case with my cycling.
3 years ago, I started commuting to work via bike. Not the whole way in, but a combination of driving and cycling. I ride my GT Timberline Mountain Bike for commuting. Obviously, I’m not going to be pulling the 16-18 mph averages I do on my Cannondale road-bike. That bothered me for the LONGEST time… I was stuck in this “time” zone. TIME was everything. The longer the time it took me to ride, the less of a workout I was getting. This thinking of mine went on for years…
One day though, the proverbial “light bulb” went off and I realized WHY I ride to work… To get from Point A to Point B. They call it “Utility Cycling.” Forget the average. Forget your mph. That’s not why you’re on the bike. Start at Point “A.” Get off the bike at Point “B.” Mission accomplished.
So, for about the last year or so, I’ve become totally entrenched in this theory. My morning commutes into work are the best part of my morning. The afternoon ride back to the car is better than ANY medication available in a pharmacy.
I ride like I’m a kid again. Remember when you first learned how to ride? It’s all you thought about. I’d go to bed as a kid plotting out tomorrow’s biking adventure. I lived on a bike as a kid. It was FUN to ride a bike.
Go out and have FUN on a bike. It’s not a workout. Try it. I guarantee you’ll feel YEARS younger. As I age, I realize I’m not getting any younger and there are things I can’t do as well as I did when I was younger. But riding a bike for fun? Oh, hell yeah! I can still do that. I’ve had some of my best miles ever on a bike this year, because I have FUN when I’m out riding. Getting out for FUN rides makes me feel like I’m 8 years old again. Not a worry in the world on the bike. Just pedaling, seeing the world around me, and using my 5 senses to enjoy the journey.
Not every ride of mine is a slow ride. I do have a Cannondale road bike that I use on the weekends for my “workout” rides. During the week though, I have my “fun” bike for the commuting.
Give it a shot. Ride slow. You’ll see what I’m talking about.