Finally. The Canadian winter begins to retreat. A sure sign of spring is the first bike ride. A bit later this year than last. I was out on March 24th last year. A very pleasant and sunny day. This week-end was good riding weather although still on the cold side. The first ride allows me to break in the bike from a long winter spent spinning indoors. And it allows me to prove in any new technology. This season I am using Abvio’s Cyclemeter app for the iPhone. An amazing app which you can learn more about here. But why do I ride?
1. Riding makes me feel better
I found this statement on the Cyclemeter website: “Abvio LLC was founded in 2008 by Steve Kusmer and Kevin Wallace to build advanced mobile applications that can make a world of difference. Its products are designed to motivate people to exercise by running, walking, and cycling, which can significantly extend and improve their lives.” One reason why I ride is because of how it makes me feel. I generally burn 700 – 900 calories an hour and although I am definitely pushing myself, I never leave a ride feeling burned out or tired. Rather, I come off the bike enthusiastic about life.
2. Riding helps me manage my weight
Any exercise is good exercise particularly for my mostly sedentary lifestyle. A typical day is usually spent sitting. Although I am generally careful with my food choices, cycling allows me to offset any unexpected caloric bumps. If I happen to have a pizza or a special treat, I know that the bike ride will easily overcome the caloric surplus. Surprisingly, I find I have to increase my caloric intake during the outdoor riding season. I usually lose 5 – 8 pounds over the riding season even with the increase in caloric intake.
3. Riding teaches me the importance of discipline
The most difficult part of any achievement in life is getting started. And then staying focused. There are days when the wind is really gusting when I do not feel like getting on the bike. Why? Because I know just how hard a ride is ahead. There are days when I get back from the office completely exhausted and all I want to do is rest and recover. Getting myself on the bike, tracking my ride statistics, reading about cycling, cross training — all these things help me to stay focused. And it reminds me that to achieve anything worthwhile in life requires discipline.
4. Riding connects me with life
This one is harder to explain. I generally ride solo when I am out on the bike. It is just me, the machine and the world around me. There is the sound of wind, the sound of my breathing and the feel of the road underneath my bike. I quickly become one with the machine. Most cyclists will talk about getting into a zone. And it is true. There is a point in the ride when I am so connected with the machine and the world around me that I feel a very different connection with life. I reflect on how wonderful it is to be able to move so quickly, to have control over this movement. I marvel at the wonderful countryside. I feel an inner peace. I know that some would suggest that all of this is due to the release of endorphins into the bloodstream. I actually find a deeper, more spiritual connection with life when I ride. Life is very different in the zone. Troubles fade away. Issues fade away. All of the many blessings in life come forward.
5. Riding keeps me going
Well of course it keeps me going. The whole point of riding is to go somewhere. Riding keeps me going in so many other areas of my life. It helps me physically and spiritually to achieve. Riding builds my confidence. Riding builds my fitness. Riding manages my stress. And all of these benefits translate into everyday living. In a much broader context, riding keeps me going.