My bike is a 1986 Schwinn World Tourist bicycle I’ve owned since it was new. (Featured photo.) From road bikes to mountain bikes and everything in-between, there’s something for everyone.
When picking a bicycle look at where you will ride. What kind of trails will you be on? How do you want to sit on your bike? Can you get a leg over the bar? The best way to know is to go to a local bike shop and with their help, try a few out. Don’t be afraid to ask to ride it around the parking lot. With so many hybrids and specialized bicycles, (like recumbents,) there really is a bike just for you out there!
Whether you buy your bike at the shop or at Walmart you’ll be glad you tried them out first. The worst thing you can do is buy a bicycle you’re not going to be comfortable on because you won’t ride it. If a bike fits you it’ll feel like it does. It’s a great feeling!
What kind of bike do you have?
So you want to ride your bicycle, what should you expect?
Even on a sunny day when starting out, you will hate the hills, the wind will push you around and you will wonder what the hell you are doing on a bike. You may feel like you forgot how to ride! We all feel these things but after a few weeks, you will gain confidence and start to feel a difference. It took me over a year to get over the hump but good things take work and time.
I suggest biking 2 to 3 times a week to start. You don’t want to let too many days go in between or it will take longer for the good benefits to add up. You will want to rest at least every other day to recover. Eating healthy food and getting a good nights sleep is a must because your body needs sleep cycles to heal.
Ride as far as you can each time (which for me was a few miles) as you get better you’ll find yourself wanting to go further. Part of the fun is starting to find the riding trails in your area. No places to ride? Get a bike carrier for your vehicle from the bike shop.
What are some of the benefits of riding your bicycle?
Ok so these aren’t exactly the physical benefits but all are good examples of how awesome bikes are.
I love how quiet it is when I ride and I notice things that I wouldn’t when driving my car. Little critters cross the path in front of me and birds glide on the wind alongside me. The other day a crow flew over me with a dead mouse held in its beak dripping blood happy to catch lunch and I saw a hummingbird as small a large bug. I feel like I’m flying through a wonderland when I ride my bike.
What about the physical things that happen to you in the first hour?
- 10 Minutes-A sense of freedom hits your system. You immediately grin from the joy you’re feeling as you pedal faster and faster.
- 20 Minutes-Your enjoyment spikes, causing a burst of activity. Your body is ridding itself of the stress hormone that can prevent deep regenerative sleep. You start to smile.
- 40 Minutes-Blood flow and oxygen to the brain is boosted. Keep smiling, because if you’re riding 5 days a week for 40 minutes at a time you’re likely to take half as many sick days as couch potatoes.
- 45 Minutes-Serotonin and endorphins are released into the blood system, helping improve your mood. This is the addicting part that I love because it lasts even after you stop riding.
- 60 Minutes-With every mile you tick off you’re helping reduce your risk of heart disease to less than half of those who don’t exercise. You’re burning fat and getting stronger.
- After an hour, your mind comes into play. To me, it’s like meditation I even think of poetry and music. As a side note, I’d like to say that this is a good reason NOT to listen to music while you’re riding it’s extremely dangerous not to pay attention to your surroundings on a bike. We all need time to think in this crazy world and this is an excellent way and time to do it.
- As the rave inside of you continues you might want to think about how much longer you want to bike. I bike about 2 hours at a time roughly 20 miles and I take along an apple or pear. Nothing beats choosing a bench and noshing on the trail not to mention you’ll burn it off going home.
These are just some of the good things you have to look forward to. Exercise promotes good hormones and helps relieve inflammation in the body. Stress and the effects of stress melt away. Endorphins really are addictive and feel amazing even after you get off of the bike! Exercise relieves pain, helps weight-loss and promotes quality sleep.
I have a saying, “There’s no belly in bicycling.” That’s because it helps bloat and gives one a flat stomach.
Warning: If you’re starting an exercise program, or have medical problems, you should consult your doctor first to be safe. Nothing feels worse than hurting yourself just as you are getting used to riding, then having to take the time off to heal.
What kinds of bikes are there?
Even with enlarging and sharpening this didn’t come in as well as I’d of liked but it gives you an idea of all of the different bicycles there are. If you want to know more about one of these styles a search would be good if you can’t read it. The “at a glance” info is interesting.
What kind of bicycle would you want?
Whether you buy a vintage or a new bike be sure and try it out first. An old bike can always be fixed up like new so don’t neglect your old bike it can be your best friend again by taking it into a shop or doing your own work if you know how.
Your bicycles seat should be high enough so that you have room to extend your legs when pedaling but not too high as to have to stretch for them. There are different size frames, wheels and the seat and handlebars are adjustable. Fenders become important when it rains if you don’t want water on your back. A bike may not “fit” you perfectly have someone who knows help you figure out what fits you.
Having a bike with no speeds or one with many speeds is another personal choice. You may want to sit up on a bike and not bend over with 10-speed handlebars. There are different kinds of breaks and shifters to consider. There are large cushy seats if you don’t like the tiny ones and no matter what kind of bike you get you can always change these out. Get what you want not necessarily what the store tries to sell you.
It’s good to have a holder for a water bottle (a must) and a saddlebag of some sort to keep your things in. Saddlebags come in all shapes and sizes. Taking your cell phone is important for reasons I’ll get into at another time. I even carry a small first aid kit in mine.
Now that you have a bike that fits you to a T it’s time to start riding it. When you do you’ll be glad you took the time to get the right bike it will carry you well and make you insanely happy and healthy.
Do it right and it’ll do you right!