A high-end bike won’t fix low-end legs©. God how I wish this weren’t true but it is. I’d be riding with the racers, shooting off the front every now and again… I have the high-end bike, and believe me, all it does is make fast a little more attainable… especially in the hills. In the end, it’s just a bicycle weighing slightly more than a bowling ball and slightly less than a bowling ball and a pair of bowling shoes. However, not all is lost on the super-bikes either. For instance, much is made of steel bikes and how comfortable their ride is… Unfortunately, at a shade over 20 pounds for the lightest of them (but usually north of 25), I’d take my Venge any day of the week and twice on Sunday for climbing anything more than a speed bump.
That said, cycling is almost all about maintaining the engine. Like him or not, Rush Limbaugh likes to say that weight loss has nothing to do with exercise, that it’s all about diet, that one could sit on the couch forever and lose weight if the diet was right:
Far be it from me to take on the King of talk radio but I must respectfully disagree:
See folks, here’s the deal: I’ve never heard of anyone who wasn’t bed-ridden developing a bed sore. Ever. We were meant to move, to be active, to get off of the couch. It’s in our DNA, our very makeup. It’s evolution and creation shaking hands and saying, “It’s all good”. Oh, you can say that all doctors are quacks, that the exercise industry is just a billion Dollar money-making scam and that we’re all nuts… Of course, the same could be said of the diet industry, but let’s not argue over the intricacies…
There is a simple truth to the whole discussion though. We’ve been searching for the easier, softer way since the desk job was invented and I’m an advocate, not unlike the aforementioned Limbaugh, for “whatever works”. For me, there’s no doubt it’s cycling. I hadn’t seen a few of my friends in three weeks until last night and they all commented on how ripped and trim I look without thinning down. This is a direct result of cycling and has nothing to do with diet – I’ve been eating what I always eat. For others, it’s running. Then there are the diet conscious, vegetarians, and so forth. “The means that can be sustained until the ends are realized” makes a great sound bite but will only last if we have a smile on our face at the end of the day.
I love the speed of cycling. I love the bikes in the same way car enthusiasts love a good sports car. Blasting down the road with five to twenty good friends for a few hours on a Saturday morning is as close as I get to Heaven on Earth. Sharing cycling with my wife makes her look like she does in that photo above and gives us something fun (and easy) to talk about. Cycling with my wife on Sunday morning has become a necessary capper to the week. We plan vacations around taking time to ride…
This wasn’t always the case. I never was as big as Rush, but I was pushing maximum allowable density. In other words, I was as big as I could allow myself to get. I wanted to try rollerblading to drop weight but that really didn’t fit with where I was living. I settled on running and while I enjoyed it and reaped the benefits of getting in shape (I dropped 24 pounds in a few short months), I never really loved it. I could sustain it, but only as long as I had friends to run with. Cycling, not just riding a bike, is a completely different experience as far as I’m concerned. It has everything I was ever looking for in a fitness activity. Cycling is my easier, softer way… It just so happens that it’s not easy or soft, but that’s by choice.
The one problem that I do see with fitness is that it’s a lot like everything else that works like a marriage: You get out of it what you put into it. I ride hard, long and fast miles so I tighten up and drop any residual winter weight fast. It’s D + E = R, or Distance plus Effort equals Results. The greater the distance and effort, the better the results. All too often, with fitness, the distance and effort parts of the math problem are, or become, work. As many of us have enough work to do, another job staying fit is the last thing we’re looking for. Cycling is my “easier, softer way” because it’s never work, in the true sense of the word. It’s almost always fun and enjoyable.
So, my friends, the trick is to find our “easier, softer way”. Just be prepared, because the easiest, softest way is rarely easy or soft. It sure beats Type II Diabetes though. Now that’s hard.