Friday, January 8, 2010

What Kind of Bicyclist Are You?

Do you use your bicycle to commute? Or do you use it for sport or recreation? Does it matter? As a junior I use to race in sanctioned races on the road with USA Cycling's predecessor United States Cycling Federation. I would ride long distances and do interval training so I could improve my results in the local races I attended. I considered myself a serious athlete, a serious cyclist.

Once college started and then career and then family I found less and less time to go for rides. I was now not even an athlete but an out of shape man in his mid 30's pushing high cholesterol levels.

Eventually, I started to find time to go riding again and went for long weekend rides and shorter rides during the week. I started to lose weight and my cholesterol levels improved. Even though I wasn't a competitive cyclist I was a "road cyclist".

As a cyclist who use to race I looked down on those recreational bicycle riders or those people who would ride their bike to do groceries or go to work. I thought I was in much better shape then "those" people even when I would just ride on the weekends. I thought a cyclist was serious, fast and fit while a bicycle rider was just someone who would ride their bike.

Over the past 2 years I found I couldn't ride my bike as much and be with my family as much as I should or wanted. So, I started riding my bike to work to get the exercise in I needed. The first year I started about 50% of my miles on the bike were commuting to work. It didn't dawn on me but I still considered myself a road cyclist even though I was now doing half my riding on trails and commuting.

This past year I reached a personal milestone by riding over 3,000 miles on my bike. Over 67% of those miles were commuting miles. And despite the fact that I now ride mostly as a "commuter" I am in much better shape then if I just road my bike over the weekend on long 3-4 hour rides. So, I have to ask myself. . . am I a commuter or a road cyclist or a recreational cyclist? I guess I could say with pride that I'm a commuter. But what does it matter? In the end we all love the experience of getting on the bike, feeling the wind in our face, experiencing the outdoors and getting exercise.

So, as a new year is beginning I encourage you, no matter how you use your bicycle, to use it and get out there on the road or the trails and enjoy all the benefits a bicycle has to offer! And if you find you need help getting started or have questions about how to ride. . . . give us a call. We're not just commuters, or recreational cyclists, or racing cyclists. . . we're advocates! We'll advocate for you so you can continue to enjoy the invention of the bicycle.
By the way. . . here's me on New Year's Eve getting my 4 miles in to reach 3,000 miles.

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