“Wanna go for a bike ride?”
If you think about how that question made you feel as a kid, it probably makes you smile. If you’re someone who’s heard it about 100 times in the past couple of years in reference to training for races … it probably made you wonder how your supply of sports drinks and gels are holding up.
I’ve been in the latter group for a while now, and while I’ve gone on plenty of amazing group rides that have ended up being a lot of fun, there’s still a huge difference between hopping on a road or triathlon bike for an hour or two (or four) at a time … and riding around on a cruiser just for fun or to ride a few blocks to a friend’s house.
Recently, though, I’ve been rediscovering the way riding a bike felt as a kid … largely because I’ve been riding one in much the same way as I did when I was back in grade school. The folks at Schwinn sent me a Schwinn Yorkshire bike ($189 at Target!), which is a Dutch style bike featuring an upright riding position (so much more relaxed and comfy than how I sit on my roadie), full wrap chain guard, coat guard and fenders (which keeps me from getting splashed by the tires and keeps anything I’m wearing — even a skirt — from catching in the spokes), a front headlight and a super comfy spring saddle. We dressed it up with a basket and a bell (when’s the last time you dinged a bike bell? It makes me giggle every time!), and oh my gosh, this sweet cruiser is just the cutest thing around. My fancy new helmet is pretty cute, too — and yes, I wear it even when I’m going just a little ways down the road, because safety, people.
I mean, sure, I probably don’t get going much over 8 miles an hour on it, but even when I only ride over to the grocery store or the gym (or just around the neighborhood), I find myself grinning like a goofball. I forgot how much fun it was to just ride — not for speed or time or distance, and not because I’m really training, but just to be out and about. I feel like a brand new bike-riding girl.
The timing for this revelation is impeccable, because May is National Bike Month. People for Bikes actually has a cute little video out to encourage people to get out and ride, and I have to say, there have definitely been a few days lately when a quick ride has helped me “shed the monster.” And that’s without even breaking a sweat!
There’s a National Bike Challenge (you know how we love a challenge!) which runs now through September and lets you see how your mileage stacks up with people in your area … plus, it helps scratch that competitive some of us seem to have. (Who, me? Yes, you.)
While I’ve long loved the idea of using a less sport-specific bike for casual transportation, I had mostly been looking at it from a practical standpoint — it’s good for the environment, saves money by saving gas and is good for my physical health. But it’s more than that — it’s just as much fun as I remember!
When’s the last time you rode a bike just for the heck of it? Try getting out for a low-key, no-goals-needed ride and let me know if you feel any different than you do on a big ride or in an indoor cycling class! —Kristen