I'm pretty sure it's because I lived my childhood on a bike, but I never feel free-er than when I'm on a bike. I first received a fixed-gear pink one with training wheels when I was maybe four, and I finally graduated to a mountain bike when I was closer to ten. Before my bike, I was relegated to the park across my street, but when I had a bike, I could go to all the parks.
|ALL OF THEM.|
I went to the library a few times, and that was across the whole town (big accomplishment for me at the time). After around sixteen, I didn't bike as much for some reason. It wasn't until the end of community college that I decided I would pick it back up. I currently own a Lotus 3000M mountain bike. Apparently it's vintage. I bought it at a Play It Again Sports for $50.
Admittedly, I have a hard time getting into the more technical aspects of cycling, like seat height or changing to the correct gear. In fact, I usually just stick to the hardest gear (until I discovered hills, anyway). I don't draft, I don't have fancy jerseys, I don't wear gloves...I ride a mountain bike on roads, for chrissake. I just discovered that the appropriate psi for my tires is between 40-65. My spoke broke not too long ago and I didn't even know that they break. I have a lot to learn, so I have done a few things differently this year:
I bought a Terry bike seat. There's a lot of hype online regarding Terry saddles and how great they are for women, so after suffering through a Wal-mart Bell seat, I bought a Liberator X at REI (I love REI). I tried it out for the first time the other day, and I did feel some relief. I might pair it with some padded shorts in the future, but I'm still giving it a chance. I only rode on it for fifteen minutes, after all.The other thing I did for myself is that I downloaded this cycling tracker app on my phone called Strava. It tracked me on my ride via GPS and I got to see a map of my route, time elapsed, and the elevation change. I'm not quite sure how the elevation works, however. I have to look into that. I was hoping it would track each and every hill, but it seemed to just give me one number.
The last thing I did for myself was attempt to power through some real hills. All of last summer, I had a usual route that was pretty much flat and I would ride it as hard as I could for an hour. I thought I was doing really well, since I was going maybe 13-15 miles three or four times a week. Unfortunately, I had to cut last year's riding short since I was called for a dig and didn't bring my bike (regret!). I currently live in a hilly town (though certainly not as hilly as San Francisco or Denver) and I thought I could really challenge myself to work my muscles in this new way.
My cardio does not approve. It thinks hills are bullshit. Remember how I said I only rode for fifteen minutes? I lied. I might have ridden for eight, and then I was walking up or down hill for the remainder of the time. I discovered going downhill is kind of scary (too fast!) and going uphill is impossible (too hard!). My breath was all ragged and everything. I managed to go 1.3 m and apparently had an elevation gain of 101ft. I was also able to write some notes regarding my ride:
"More hilly than I thought. Tires need more pressure. Terry seat not bad. Pretty sure townies think I'm a wuss. Temp: 38. Conditions: Mostly melted snow, puddles, roads are a bit cruddy. Some wind from S. Heartrate achieved (HR): ????? Maybe I should get one of those fancy straps."
Hopefully the townies don't actually care, and that next time I do better. We shall see. I shall conquer these hills yet! On my to-do list is to properly clean and lubricate my bike, as well as add the appropriate amount of air in the tires. I might also fiddle around with the seat to see if I can make it even more comfortable.