Training Wheels

I am really enjoying my new bike. I love how light she is.  How comfortable she is.  How purple she is. It has been years since I have really ridden a bike, and I forgot how much I love it.  It feels so free and I love knowing that I can just get on it and go…

Since I know next to nothing about cycling, I just picked up a book at the library on cycling – “Every Woman’s Guide to Cycling,” by Selene Yeager. I like it so far – she has really good basic information for newbies like me – and I think she hits the nail on the head regarding one of the major appeals of cycling (at least for me):

Nothing brings back that buried youthful exuberance like riding a bike. Nothing. Ride regularly, and you never have to feel like an overburdened adult again.”

I triuly get what she is saying here.  I’m a fan of the runner’s high as much as anyone, but running never gives that same “flying” feeling that a bike can (and I haven’t even cycled really fast yet!).  The two sports give similar yet totally different highs, and I’m finding I love them both.

I’m also REALLY enjoying my bike trainer, even though sweating in my basement wasn’t the first image that ran through my mind while browsing the offerings at my local bike shop last Fall. I didn’t realize how nervous I felt riding on the roads around here (windy roads + crazy drivers + lots of storm debris left over from Sandy) until I hooked my bike up on the trainer right after Christmas and enjoyed a ride without worrying that I was going to wipe out or be hit. I think that by the time consistently warmer weather rolls around, I will be more than ready to get back outside on the bike, but in the meantime, it is great to be able to get to know my bike and get used to riding in a safe location. I’m just about to transition to clipless pedals, and I’m particularly happy to get used to them on the trainer before taking it to the streets. Reminds me of how my Dad took me driving in parking lots before letting me loose on the roads.

Anyway, one thought that has occurred to me as I pedal blissfully away in my warm, safe, basement is that I really have no idea what the hell I am doing. Really. I’m not usually an indoor/machine workout person and never really have to come up with a workout plan. The only indoor exercise I have done in recent years is Spinning, and there is an instructor to lead the way.  As it stands, I have no idea how fast I am going, how far I am going, or how hard I am working.  I just know that I sweat a bit and feel tired when I stop (both good signs of a decent workout, but still, I do feel a bit like I’m pedaling in a vacuum). Any suggestions on good videos or training plans? I don’t need to go crazy with regimens and plans, but I would like to use my indoor cycling time well so that when I transition to the road in the Spring, I will be better conditioned and confident than when I rode in the Fall. I also think it might be fun to have a video to look at while cycling – I haven’t gotten bored yet, but I have to imagine that after a few weeks, looking at the wall while I cycle isn’t going to cut it anymore.  Thoughts?  Suggestions?  Throw ’em my way, please!

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5 thoughts on “Training Wheels

  1. On a bike your consciousness is small. The harder you work, the smaller it gets. Every thought that arises is immediately and utterly true, every unexpected event is something you’d known all along but had only forgotten for a moment. #
    in The Rider

  2. Put a towel over your handlebars, comes in very handy. Your sweaty salt is a corrosive as ocean salt. If you have a portable fan put that in front of you too. There are plenty of DVDs available, there also videos you can download. Sufferfest is a good series. It uses actual race footage so it feels like you are riding roads with people around you.

    • Sufferfest sounds cool! Will definitely keep a towel over handlebars-thanks for the tip. I hate being hot, especially when stationary, and already position a floor fan right in front of me.

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