Monday, March 26, 2012

the joys of a bike dawdle

Most of my posts over the last two years have focused on my cancer care but today I thought I would just post a little note that has nothing to do (directly) with my cancer survivor-ship. Today I want to talk about the joys of dawdling on your bike.

Growing up I was on my bike - a lot. When I was about 8 and wanted a new bike, I "accidentally" left my bike neatly hidden behind one of the cars so that my dad backed up over it, thereby opening up the door to a new bike purchase. As a parent, I now realize what a horrible moment it must have been for my dad when he heard the crunch and wondered if he had just run over his son along with his bike. To his credit, he was pretty civil about the whole thing. I was just excited about having the perfect excuse to get a new bike! I don't think of myself as being very Machiavellian but looking back on that episode it seems pretty diabolical. Anyway, back to the main subject. Growing up, I spent a lot of time on my bike. I would cruise around the neighborhood and  the rides were typically very short - a mile or perhaps two. As I got older and had various activities outside of the immediate neighborhood I would ride my bike to them and started to get a sense for biking as its own activity, not as simply transportation. I never entered a bike race growing up as there was no organized youth cycling program in my town when I was a kid but I did enjoy riding hard on the bike. After college I started getting back into biking, mostly as part of a being a triathlete. And with that transition, bike riding started to get a lot more structured. I got a bike computer and starting recording distance, average speed, perceived intensity, etc. That was about 30 years ago and to this day I still track lots of information about my bike rides. But one of the things that I've lost a bit is the joy and spontaneity of just putzing around on my bike. As with many other things in my life, Susan came to my rescue on this and has coached me to - every once in a while - just get on the bike and fart around. Don't worry about the distance, don't worry about how hard you're working. Saturday was just such a day. The weather was gorgeous and there were a ton of people outside, walking, running, biking, gardening, etc. Susan and I got on the bikes and wandered over east of where we live. No big hills, not much traffic, nothing special to see. We just dawdled. Took a break halfway through the ride for a little snack and ended up being on the bikes for a couple of hours. It was just a really nice bike dawdle. It was definitely a zone-1 (zone-0?) ride but I've learned (or re-learned) that it's OK to do that sort of ride once in a while. At the end of the day, if every time you get on your bike it's a death march, you're probably not going to enjoy riding your bike at some point. And that would be A Bad Thing.

So the lesson for the day is to to make sure to remember that bike-dawdling is an essential part of the whole bike experience. Once in a while make a serious commitment to dawdle on your bike. Whether you're in a group or riding solo, embrace the dawdle and I think you'll find yourself smiling throughout the entire ride!

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