Signs You Might Be A Cyclist

You’ve seen “them” riding on their 10 speeds, hunched over, no fenders, wearing colorful stretchy biking outfits and zooming by you barely managing a nod. Cyclists!

I swore this would not happen to me as I turned up my nose while riding (sitting up) on my 31-year-old touring style bicycle on the Bay Trail. Of course, in no time I was wearing colorful stretchy (in my case Yoga) outfits zooming by people…and nodding.

~gasp~

I was “one of them”!

There are all kinds of bikes to choose from sporting all types of riders but there is a common thread throughout that bonds us together as cyclists. The rituals and quirks that rub off on us all as we navigate our lives around our bicycles. Isn’t it good to belong?

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Photo from MapMyFitness

Signs You Might Be A Cyclist 

  • You can’t recognize your biking friends when they aren’t wearing colorful stretchy biking outfits.
  • The “check engine” light in your car has been on for months, but the most minor mechanical issue on your bike is fixed first.
  • You have at least one Facebook profile shot of you posing on or next to your bike with a gorgeous landscape behind you.
  • Your bike has a nickname.
  • When your driving you watch out for other riders, you slow down to a near crawl and give them plenty of room. You know what it means to be in that bike lane.
  • You also know what it’s like to use choice words when a vehicle cuts you off or a hater honks and nearly startles you off your bike. (They are out there.)
  • You run errands after your bike rides while wearing your colorful stretchy biking outfits. (Don’t forget to take the helmet off!)
  • You spend more time biking spending weekends and planning vacations around bike rides and rides with groups.
  • Stripes on your thighs and ankles, cut-out shapes on the tops of your hands, your colorful stretchy bike outfits tan lines will incite laughter at the beach and pool.
  • You ride to and from work because it’s the fastest way, and you’ve become a pro at changing in the office bathroom.
  • You don’t notice the grease on your clothes or tear in your pants until you’re at that meeting.
  • If you’re a woman, you take better care of your favorite bike clothes than your finest lingerie. (They can be expensive.)
  • If you’re a man, you have smoother legs than your wife or girlfriend.
  • You embrace fluorescent jackets, vests, and shirts. The brighter, the better.
  • You know what it means to do time in the saddle.
  • You’ve felt the shame of having to walk your bike up a hill and the pride of conquering that climb on your bike after a few weeks’ of riding.
  • You have more colorful stretchy biking pants (or shorts) in your laundry basket than jeans.
  • You’re baffled when your roommate or partner doesn’t understand why your bike can’t be stored outside.
  • Some of your hardest falls have happened when you’ve stopped or slowed to a crawl, which doesn’t make sense but happens none-the-less.
  • You take a bad fall with bloody hands and knees, but your first question is whether or not your bike survived.
  • You look and feel better than you have in some time, can’t stop smiling, and have oodles of extra energy.

~large smile~

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My bicycle photo made into a GIF using Masterpiece Art Filters from PhotoLab Pro and LunaPic.

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 Rules 2 Remember While Riding

sameroads

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Use Your Hand Signals

You may not have fallen prey to all of the signs yet but I predict you will. If you fall in love with cycling you’ll enrich your health and life becoming stronger with more energy. You can do it.

You’re a cyclist! One of us, one of us, we accept you, we accept you!

Shadow Dance

Yesterday was the shortest day of the year and I took a long bike ride. The light was fantastic! All day it seemed around 3 pm and it was a warm 64 degrees with bright sunlight not at all winter-like. Made me break out in a happy shadow dance!

Shadow Dance was me dancing to a song (playwright protected so not used) with my shadow. I had no idea James was filming me until I turned around. James rode with me on Wednesday, when this was filmed and I rode again the next day (yesterday) by myself taking advantage of the weather. I was just having fun and the music I used instead is hilarious.

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There was more shadow play during those rides. The texture of the mud at low tide is wonderful and varied.

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Near the 19 hole golf course, the frogs are making a comeback. We’ve had tons of rain that is washing the drought away. The grass is sparkling.

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There was no water here just months ago. This field is across from the wetlands, on the other side of this fenced-in area there’s a park and this area fills up with rainwater only. There will be a lot more water soon.

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This is another area across from the bay that fills with rainwater and city run-off. The water used to stay but it’s been drying out during the summer. I love to sit on this bench and listen to the frogs that mysteriously appear along with the return of the water. They give a good concert if you take the time.

Notice my bike shadow. Nice!

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San Francisco is my riding buddy as I zoom along the Bay Trail.

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The sun shines on my path in the distance. You can see where the water is still not full up on the left behind the fence.

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Looking South towards the San Mateo Bridge, Highway 92. I ride under and past that bridge on a normal ride day.

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This is low tide with San Francisco in view. San Francisco is down the peninsula from San Mateo, not across the bay as these photos might suggest. These major areas are points that were picked because they stick out along the coastline. The airport is in-between us and the city.

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The city in the distance, surrounded by mud and water. The colors of blue, brown and sometimes green are amazing. The water is the color of the sky, reflections in the calm water, and deep winter shadows make for great sights! When the tide comes in this will all be covered with water again.

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I’ll be biking again tomorrow unless it’s pouring rain. I’m excited to be nearing a year riding my vintage bicycle on the Bay Trail. I started last year around February 20th riding my bike after starting a diet. When I found it enjoyable and found it working I decided to try and ride every other day.

Riding every other day has so many advantages over planning 3 workouts a week or such. A day to rest and get things done and a workout day. If something comes up skip it and go the next day, this keeps you regular so you don’t quit. Your body will shape up faster and regular workouts will make your body healthy giving you surprising energy reserves.

Today I’m proud to say I’ve fulfilled that schedule only missing occasionally due to illness, injury or terrible weather to start again. It’s not as hard as it seems but you must keep your motivation going when it’s low and it will be at times. I keep my eye on the prize (my figure and health) and work through it. Can’t wait to celebrate a year soon.

Do it, be it and enjoy it!

 

Duck Feathers

After I got over the initial pain of being a beginner and settled into my workouts I found that biking was making me feel amazing. I was in the best health ever and things that normally would have thrown me into a funk during my day just weren’t happening. I found myself not sweating the small things. I told my best friend there was no way that I could be depressed while riding my bike and surprised myself when I said it.

Just a year ago I was a dark cloud raining on everything that came my way. I couldn’t see past my various moods they colored even my best days. I was addicted to foods that didn’t nourish my body and spent all my time sitting on my kiester stuffing my face. It was a terrible way to react to the world and treat myself. As I increased my health through my bike rides I found the clouds parting and the weather clearing. Now it’s darn right sunny even on the rainiest days. I never imagined how well exercise worked as an antidepressant.

Now I feel immune to things that would have brought me crashing down in the past. I have found what I affectionately call, “my duck feathers.” Anything that threatens to bring me down just repels off of me like water off a duck. My problems haven’t gone away, I’m still the same person making the same mistakes I’ve always made, but now I have an inner happiness that keeps me going on a positive note.

The health benefits of exercising eating right and good sleep are astounding. My body is slowly changing for the better I can see and feel it. I have a waist and my stomach hasn’t been this flat in decades. My skin has cleared up, my hair is soft and shiny and my energy level is through the roof. My bad knees are so much stronger I don’t need my cane anymore. Overall, my legs and core feel strong. All the hours of riding have improved my heart and my doctor tells me with vitals like mine I’m going to live a long time. After only a year of working out, that’s music to my  62-year-old ears and I’m not stopping anytime soon.

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While all these things are wonderful side effects of an aerobic exercise like bike riding, the thing that surprised me the most is the good mood that won’t go away. A good mood that didn’t require drugs just riding my bicycle regularly. With so many people having problems with depression, syndromes, and unhappiness I would think exercise would be worth trying.

Discovering “my duck feathers” is something I’m thankful for this year, that, and the fact that I found a good reason for riding my 30-year-old bicycle. Getting this twice as old woman functioning, healthy and moving again!

Join me! If you’re lucky enough to be able to ride your bike year round do it and feel thankful for it.