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Cycling – What They Don’t Tell You About It As A Kid…

January 2013
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When I took up cycling two years ago (at 40) I had no idea how much pleasure and enjoyment I was really in for.  I made the mistake of assuming that cycling and mountain biking as an adult was the same as riding a bike as a kid – and I rode some bike as a kid.

We lived in a small town about an hour from Detroit and back then we were considered “corn country”.  Most of the roads were dirt, with little traffic, so our parents bought us bikes early and we rode the wheels off of them. As a younger lad, in addition to riding around the neighborhood, I rode to friends houses up to ten miles away and to middle school (about twelve miles each way). In short, bikes were our way to get around when mom and dad couldn’t drive us or a mode of transportation that allowed us our freedom years before we could think of a driver’s license…

As an adult, cycling is so much more than just a mode of transportation. Cycling is a social event, an escape from everyday stress, a great way to start a date with my wife, a way to stay slim, build some awesome legs, a way to escape or avoid heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, a bad attitude, get a badass tan and on the right mountain road – fly. Cycling these last two years has brought me more joy and allowed me to make and keep more new friends than almost anything I know of.  The list goes on and with a little more thought, could easily double.

I can remember rollerblading as a young buck and thinking it couldn’t get any better (and I put in some miles – up to 40 miles on a weekend day). Oh how wrong I was!  Cycling is just as, if not more, enjoyable.

This was my mistake:  I had a cheap big box mountain bike back then.  Steel frame, cheap plastic thumb shifters (on top of the bar), one size fits all, cheap plastic seat (I’d hardly call that a saddle even if that’s technically what it was)…  To ride that bike was actual work – a lot like riding a bike as a kid only now that bike had to compete with the fact that I had a car.  In other words I was looking at it all wrong.  I had no idea there was an actual cycling community out there – one large enough to accommodate any level of cyclist and that I didn’t have to be stuck with a bike that was literally pain in my butt bike…

If you’re thinking about getting into shape but believe that doing so on a bike will be anything like it was when you were a kid, reconsider – that simply isn’t so.  Save yourself some trouble and skip the big box stores.  Instead, hit your local mom & pops bike shops.  They’ll help you save a lot of time and effort by not only selling you a decent bike that fits, they’ll help you get plugged into the local cycling scene.

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