I have found cycling to be the perfect adult-adolescent or mid-life crisis sport (I’ve got a little of both going on).
First, and let’s be frank here, bikes run on fat while a sports car, muscle car or a motorcycle runs on your bank account. Also, bikes increase health while the aforementioned motorized vehicles increase gray hair. For these reasons alone, cycling is one of the best mid-life crisis remedies known to man. But it gets better… Much better.
While bikes can get expensive, I ride the bicycle equivalent of a Ferrari for a few thousand dollars. Purchased wisely, I’ve built a decent stable of rides with less than a couple thousand more (I have two more road bikes and a mountain bike that cost $1,300 total – all high-end manufacturers, bought used). Add in my race-bike and I’m still under $5,000. Include my wife’s and kid’s bikes and I’m still less than a sixth the cost of a new Vette – and I don’t have to worry about insurance, heavy maintenance charges or gas – I can maintain the whole stable for less than the cost of one oil change a year. In short, one need not be rich to enjoy the finery of cycling.
More important, cycling has helped my relationship with my wife. Our weekly ride together is time spent chatting about how much we enjoy spending that time together, and other than the cost of lunch, there is no cost – it’s free!
Also, while there are sports car clubs for the enthusiast, I get to ride with my club, a 30-strong group of like-minded friends, every Tuesday evening – and it costs less than two bucks (the cost of my natural [read that UCI-USADA legal] human fuel H2O additive)… And we get to talk about what interests us while we’re having our fun – not afterwards. On other days, especially weekends, I get together with several of those friends again to explore the back roads of our surrounding counties for the grand cost of a lunch or a muffin and a Coke, or I go it alone if I wish.
Now, and I would be remiss to leave this out, part of the fun of cycling as the adult-adolescent mid-life crisis sport/passion/hobby is that there’s always something to pick up – a jersey, pair of shorts, water bottle, cage – if you so desire. There is literally no end to how far you can take it. On the other hand, if you’re frugal, cycling can be done on a fairly tight budget too. How far one takes the spending end is entirely up to the individual. I’m in the middle somewhere. I’ve got a cheap streak but I like my toys… And the best part of this is you are judged on ability to ride and maintain your steed rather than how much it cost – so going whole hog only means that you spent more money.
Finally, as I touched on before, is the fitness… It won’t be a heart attack that does me in (possibly a Buick in the butt, but not a heart attack) so I you’ve gotta have a mid-life crisis or an adult-adolescence streak, I know of nothing better than cycling.
I rely on a bike trainer for winter workouts. I would also sooner kick my own ass than run on a treadmill. On a bike, I like fast – can’t do that safely in the snow and ice so I simply use the trainer to keep as much of my fitness as I can over the winter months.
Running outside however, except during heavy snow and ice storms, I find quite nice – I become accustomed to the cold easily enough though it does take a some time.
I’ve also heard from plenty of friends who actually prefer, for one reason or another, indoor cardio training.
As far as I’m concerned, I say whatever floats your boat. However, and this is the purpose of this post, I’ve heard from a few people who don’t bother with cycling because the indoor trainer bores them.
I’ll be the first to admit that cycling isn’t for everyone – it takes a certain adventurous kind of person to take their bike out for more than a 20 mile ride – especially when you’re using lightweight equipment (road bikes, thin tires). Also, depending on where you live, there may be safety issues to consider.
Many people fear mechanical issues or flat tires on a ride… However, consider that bicycles not like cars, they are made to be easy to fix and adjust – you just have to know the steps and sequence in which those steps go. Once you gain this knowledge (use a smartphone app), it’s a snap – you can carry simple tools to fix virtually anything that can go wrong on a ride.
The point I’m trying to get at is this: If you find that you are bored by indoor cardio, don’t assume that the outdoor counterpart is the same – it most certainly is not – especially cycling.
Cycling, done properly on a proper bike, is the closest thing there is to owning your own roller coaster. It’s also a fantastic way to see the world without windows – outside “the box”, if you will.
So consider, please, just for a moment, that if you’re bored by the indoor trainer, take it outdoors and smell the fresh air at 20 mph… It’s sweet!