What You Need to Know About Road Cycling when Entering the Sport for Fun, Weight Loss, or just because…
Friends, Romans, and soon-to-be cyclists, there are a few helpful things, let’s call them nuances of the sport, that are helpful for the new and aspiring cyclist to know going in. I am going to try to come at this from a more obscure standpoint, not necessarily the simple, cookie cutter points.
First, buying a Peloton stationary bike and paying the $40 monthly fee to ride it is probably the more expensive and boring way to get into cycling. I can see a lot of boxes being ticked with it, though… You don’t have to rely on weather, time of day, traffic, just to name a few. On the other hand, you also don’t get to see anything outside of a computer screen and the surroundings of whatever room you choose to put the exercise machine in. One of the more enjoyable aspects of road cycling is seeing the countryside from the saddle. While there are dangers to cycling, if you don’t live in a major city or can get out of town to roam the countryside, there is nothing better than cycling to see the world you’ve been missing from the driver’s seat.
Road cycling will challenge your definition of “expensive”. You’re thinking $500 for a bicycle is nuts. I’ll tell you $5,000 for a bike is reasonable, understandable, and a fantastic investment in one’s health. Better, given some time in the saddle, I’d put money on you agreeing with me. How often have you heard a doctor say, “Whatever it is you’re doing, keep doing it.”? That becomes the refrain after cycling several years. It did for me. Not only that, what sounds better, buying a few expensive bikes or funding your doctor’s weekend vacation home because you’re fat and sick? I’ll take the former, thank you.
New studies out show that cyclists get a special boost to their immune system and that a cyclist’s immune system looks decades “younger”. This isn’t a surprise to me as I’ve been living it for years. While I used to get sick a few times a year, I rarely catch a cold (or the flu), even when it’s traipsing through my house in my kids. Regular exercise, I should say regular vigorous exercise, keeps me healthy beyond what I thought possible.
Many people think taking the time to exercise takes up too much time… Cycling, especially road cycling, doesn’t take as much time as one might think, especially if all you have to do is get dressed, wheel your bike out the door and start riding. I manage to ride an hour daily during the week for much of the season and three or four hours on Saturday and Sunday.
Next, be prepared to feel more relaxed the other 23 hours of the day (or 20 as the case may be)…. If you’re lucky enough to love cycling, you’ll likely find that life changes pace a little bit. Those everyday pains you used to live with go away. You no longer run out of breath walking up four flights of stairs…. and if you’re as fortunate as I am, you’ll enjoy your balanced life a lot more. You will likely come to find that you miss your bike if you can’t bring it with you on vacation. You’ll find yourself more irritable.
Then, once you get back from that vacation, no matter how active it was, you’ll throw a leg over your top tube after getting back and three miles down the road all will be right with life again.
Cycling, for some, is just something you do. For those of use who embrace it as a lifestyle, you’ll find life much more enjoyable than you thought possible. Find some friends to ride with and you’ll wonder how you ever got by before you knew what a crankset was and that a good one can cost more than your first bike – and you thought that was expensive when you bought it.
This has been a public service announcement from Fit Recovery, on the behalf of spring, cycling and friendship. Ride hard my friends.