I sit writing this Blog post just days out from the one year anniversary of my entry (I could say "re-entry but I was never really a cyclist in the past... I just rode a bike from time to time as I had need) into the world of cycling.
A re-cap for those of you who are new to the forum; My family made a decision in June 2009 to go car-free for 6 months to see how we went. At that point, we decided since we were going ok with that we would continue to live a car-free life.
Having come to that decision, and with me working about 15km from home, and being sick of catching public transport to work, we decided we must look at other options for transport.
Following that discussion, I was walking past a garage sale early last year and spied an MTB. It was a bit rough looking, but looked sturdy enough to carry my 110kg body around. I bought it for $20. Without doing ANYTHING to it, I rode it to work the following day. That was the first day of the HeatWave at the start of Jan '10. It was 38 degrees when I left for work and it took me an hour to travel the 15k's.
A couple of days later someone noted that my tires were a little low on pressure so I stopped at the servo to pump them up... they were at about 15psi! I immediately took 10 minutes off my time to work.
Between then and Easter I rode almost every day... and dropped 20kg's.
I lost another 5kg this Winter even tho I am no longer commuting.
What happened next was that we fitted all the girls out (I have 3 Primary School Aged Daughters) with bikes or trailer bikes (as well as my wife) and I started riding the girls to school. It was slow at first. It is a 10km round trip that they now do in around 25 minutes.
They completed the 15km route at Gear Up Girl with their mum about a month ago and we have done 15-20km days with them. They are tuckered out by the end of the day, but they are good riders. I hope they will always be good riders who love getting on their bikes.
As far as equipment, I went from that MTB to a single speed roadie in April and more recently to a geared roadie. I still own all 3 bikes and I am now tinkering with the idea of getting a fixed wheel bike on the road... I have a frame and have been looking at wheel sets online. We'll see how that one goes.
So, I sit here contemplating the "where to from here" question...
Having completed the 100km of Amy's Ride 2010, as well as a couple of other 100k days. I know I can do that distance without too much problem now, as long as I drink and eat enough. I don't cramp (or I haven't so far) and I don't feel sore in the days following the long rides. I know there are some who do several 100+k days a week and they all survive them, but this is my first full Summer and I am most definitely still learning.
I would like to be a better hill climber. That goal I am working towards with others early on Tuesday mornings by riding up to Mt Lofty.
I would like to be better at longer distances, with not so much flagging at the end... THAT is only going to happen by riding longer distances, more often.
I would like, by the end of the Summer, to be lighter than I am now (which will help with the climbing). The other signifier I am keeping an eye on is my waistline. I am not concentrating on the weight loss because I know that with the riding I am doing, I am building muscle, which weighs more than the fat I am replacing, so I am trying to keep both measurements in check. My belt has so many extra holes in it than it had when I purchased it that it will almost go around me one and a half times. I am almost at the point of putting one more hole in this belt (but not quite).
So, I want to encourage you... If you think you can't do it, you won't. If you don't think about (or don't know) what you can and can't do, but give it a go, you will probably eventually achieve what you set out to do... Like riding up Mt Lofty on a Single Speed bike.
Give things a go. Ride your bike to work instead of taking your car. Don't grab for the car keys to go down to the shop for the milk. Ride in ordinary clothes. Try riding up a hill. Try enjoying something different.
I am happier and more at peace with life than I have been before and a large part of that is the role that cycling now plays in my life.
Thank you to all of those who have offered their time and knowledge to my cycling efforts in the last year... you know who you are.
Blog you later.