Back in March I stumbled upon a simple internet honor-system challenge: 30 Days of Biking in April. I had just promised myself I would start riding more around town versus my twice-ish-weekly group rides, so I impulsively signed up and started pondering places to go, like easy rides to work and longer rides to the zoo.
I feel like I learned a lot about riding (one would hope that’s the case after spending some time each day with a bike). Here are some highlights:
1. Don’t fear the granny gear. Some riders associate a sense of pride with powering up a hill without using their easiest gear. But a big reason that riding is enjoyable to me is because I don’t always feel the need to push myself to be faster. Pedaling in an easy gear — especially to a place such as work, where I don’t want to be a sweaty mess when I arrive — means I still get there, but without all of the huffing and puffing. Similarly on longer rides, a big hill won’t wear me out for the remaining miles.
2. More biking = stronger muscles. By the end of week one, I could tell that my biking muscles were stronger and quicker to recover from long or tough trips. And when I returned to my gym from a months-long hiatus, I didn’t feel like I was starting over.
3. Rain won’t kill you. There are definitely some safety precautions a rider should take when riding in the rain, but the rain itself isn’t as much of an issue as I first thought. Plus the fenders and chain guards on BikeShare bikes prevent mud from splattering my work clothes. And I have awesome rain boots.
4. Things are closer than you think. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that riding from my home in the River Market to Costco in Midtown was a relatively quick trip. (I also learned that I can fit a tub of feta cheese, five avocados and my bike lock in my backpack! Score!) And while the ride down to KCUR’s offices takes twice as long on a bike, I’m getting exercise the entire trip instead of sitting in my car or on the bus.
5. Riding is rewarding. Feelings of accomplishment, getting stronger, seeing more of the city, saving gas money, getting some exercise and getting to eat more ice cream because I rode more miles — these are just some of the great things that come from riding.
I wound up riding every day (except that one day where there were tornado watches and pop-up thunderstorms. I stayed in on the exercise bike for that one…) and I’m really proud of that. Here’s my daily log of trips (“Fifi” is the name of my bike). Where would you go?