Pedal Power 7/09

July 2009

cyclist

Summer has finally arrived, and to my pleasant surprise, my gym membership has not lost its appeal. I really thought once the weather was nice that I wouldn’t want to go the gym, that I would only be interested in outdoor activity. But because I’m making progress there and really enjoying the workout, I am reluctant to let the gym go for the outdoors, or for any other reason.

It’s not impossible, but the time I spend in the gym certainly takes away from time I could spend on summer sports I also enjoy, like cycling and tennis.

And then it occurred to me; I can have it all. Rather than riding a bike to nowhere in the gym, I can ride my "real" bike TO the gym. No indoor cardio required. When I get to the gym my body and muscles are warm and ready for weight training. When I’m done I cycle home at a slower pace with a little grin across my happy face.

This brings me to three great reasons to ride rather than drive, which might also be true for many of you.

1. I get to be outside doing something fun – cycling.

2. I’m leaving my car behind, minimizing: pollution, traffic congestion, gasoline consumption, wear and tear on my car and the potential stress of driving. 


3. It just feels good knowing that I’m doing a little something for the planet and me. And all those "little somethings" add up.

This idea of riding to the gym (and my son frequently asking for my car) has inspired other purposeful trips where I can also use my bike as transportation. My hairdresser is nicely located for a bike ride. The bank is easily accessible, as is the grocery store, when all I need are a couple of things.

Then there are the Social Possibilities. I have friends who cycle together to a restaurant for a night out.

And Social Responsibilities. By all means practice safety first. Don’t drink and ride. Use residential routes whenever possible. Ride like you’re invisible to traffic, because you often are. And for heaven’s sake, wear a helmet. One good hair day isn’t worth risking the rest of them.

Many people in Asia ride bikes out of necessity. Most of us in the western world have so many choices. Where can you go using your legs to walk, run or pedal your way to an actual destination? Pedal power creates pleasure and good health. (I’m also hoping for some nice gams.)

Canada’s Physical Activity Guide suggests we should build physical activity into our daily life. Riding your bike "somewhere" is one way of doing just that. How about it?