Biking To Work Kills Two Birds With One Stone
I have to admit that until recently, I haven't been able to stick to a regular exercise program. Oh sure, I'd drop by the gym for awhile and then get bored and quit, reassuring myself by using the lie, "I'm really, really busy!"
In June of 2011, it was time for a physical just in time for my 50th birthday. I weighed in at 213 pounds, and although the doc didn't tell me I needed to lose weight, I knew I had to do something when I found out that my glucose was elevated. I had always promised myself I wouldn't be the guy with the big belly. Well, if I didn't get busy, I would soon become that guy. I began to run, enjoying the weather and some of the folks around the neighborhood. I knew that my interest in this would last for only a while and something else would have to take its place. I ran into the fall and into the winter, really beginning to feel great and look better.
"Why don't you bike to and from work?" My wife asked me when the weather was beginning to get warmer. "Oh yeah...right!" I thought to myself, conjuring images in my mind of being a kid again or having folks think you're a loser because you ride a bicycle all the time. I also knew the old Huffy in the garage wasn't going to be fast enough to get me to work, run some errands over the noon hour and let me work the hours that are asked of me by my employer.
Enter my friend Bob. Bob is retired and fixes and sells bikes as a nice supplemental income to his retirement. I told Bob what I was looking for and offered my old Huffy as a possible trade. "Got one in mind for you right now!" he said. "A nice Raleigh mountain bike that'll be just great on the bike path." I asked how soon I could see it, and that Sunday, Bob picked me up at the house and drove me to his storage facility. He pulled the Raleigh out for me and I took a ride around the lot on it. Bob was willing to take the old Huffy and I wrote him a check for $70. Congratulations! I was the proud owner of a bike that I knew I would be happy to ride.
With the weather nice enough to ride by the end of February, I can proudly say that I have pedaled my bike to work Monday through Friday and some Saturdays with a few exceptions. Earlier in the year, I made sure I had clothing that I could wear over my regular clothes that kept me warm. As it got hot, I had a shirt or two that would wick the sweat away and I wore some shorts. I would change in one of the men's rooms when I got to work.
We are very lucky in Sioux Falls to have the bike trails that we do. The ride to work takes me down to Kiwanis Avenue to O'Gorman High School where I get on the bike path off of 41st St. I take the bike trail south. I love the wildlife that I have seen on my bike. I have seen wild turkeys, deer, some sandhill cranes and of course, the Canadian geese (who are convinced they are the rightful owners of the paths) who will hiss at you as you ride by. As I go south, I soon encounter an old bridge which takes me west to 57th St and then to work. I love the ride in the morning. When I arrive at work, I am ready to work. The blood is flowing and I am alert and thinking clearly. I also have the energy to take on whatever may come my way. I'm planning to ride as long as the weather will allow. Then, I'm in the basement or back in the gym on a treadmill and lifting some weights during the winter months.
Last week I saw Bob. "How's the bike?" he asked. I told him I was riding religiously and that I was thinking of a higher tech model for the next year. "S'pose I can find one of those for you!" he said with a knowing smile on his face. I have to thank my wife and Bob, since without them, I wouldn't be feeling as great as I am now. I haven't felt this good since I was in my twenties! My glucose level has come down. I'm eating better and thinking a lot healthier and I love the way I look. I'm invested now. I look forward to riding each day and I'm thinking of trading the Raleigh for something a little faster and higher tech. I envision maybe taking part in a ride like the MS Bike Tour and running a 5K race sometime in the next year. Even if I don't, I am happy to be able to work the kind of day that I need to and still get my exercise. Biking to and from work has been great for me, and I would encourage anyone who has an interest in it to do what Nike says. "Just Do It!"