A Cycling Novice’s Rants and Rambles – Don’t Let The Couch Win
By Amanda Schul
You ever have those days where you just do not want to get off the couch? A million reasons of why you should not get on the bike float through your head. But begrudgingly you get ready, air up those tires, and climb into the saddle, telling yourself it’s just a quick spin. Before you know it those 10 miles turns into 25+ and when you climb out of the saddle you feel refreshed and revived. Oh and a tad bit accomplished that you didn’t let your couch win. Runners talk about the running high you get the same thing after a ride.
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/spacemanor/
I had that same problem last weekend. I was supposed to get up and ride with my club on Saturday. I needed the miles for my upcoming 180 mile, 2 day ride in October. With currently riding 4 days outside I needed to keep up the pace. I woke up early but managed to procrastinate. Planning on riding in to my local bike shop where the ride starts, I procrastinated so much I knew riding in was out. By the time I had gathered my gear and went to load the bike on my rack I had 10 minutes. I knew I’d never make it in time. I was disappointed in myself but instead of going back upstairs and going back to bed, I texted a neighborhood friend and fellow social rider and made arrangements to meet. We got in 18 miles which was about 10 less than I had planned on doing with my club but way more than I would have gotten just going back to bed. We managed to keep a decent pace as well and I didn’t get a case of the ‘guilties’ for not riding.
There are several different types of rides and riders. There are club riders, social groups, and the solo riders to mention a few. I have been known to get in some solo rides but I will admit I’m terrible at keeping pace or focus. My ADD kicks in and I end up going about 12 mph as I ponder the world and take in the sights. Which is fine but wasn’t what I had set out to do. I try to ride with my club several times a month to keep practicing my pace line skills and it’s a more competitive atmosphere. Houston has a wealth of social clubs. Being the 4th Largest City in the US, there are many options, there are the clubs named after their geographic location in the city. Clubs named after specific activities such as a taco ride that goes to various taco stands. Granit I am new to the sport and haven’t explored other cities’ options but I am sure there is a home for you, one thing I do know is that cyclists seem to stick together… you know what they say, birds of a feather. Find a group that interests you or several groups and give them a try and find your home.
A friend of mine let me in on a great social ride this past Sunday. A local pub (Rudyards British Pub) was celebrating its 36th Anniversary and organized a weekend of festivities. Sunday capped it off with a 24 mile ride that visited four of the area micro-brew breweries. We started off at 730 and rode a fast 9 miles to our first stop to begin our morning of beers. This was my first “social” ride. I thought this meant no padded shorts, no road bikes or roadie-esque habits. So for the first time I rode without my padded shorts, left my gloves at home and embarked on my adventure with a couple of girlfriends. There were a couple of people on hybrids like myself, a couple of fixed gears but the vast majority was in their padded shorts, wearing their gloves and riding their road bikes.
The first 9 miles were very fast with a couple of hills and overpasses, I looked down and my little Schwinn bike computer told me we were cruising at 18+ mph. Which was a record for me on my 25lb hybrid, I quickly regretted my choices on apparel and bikes but I made the most of it. There were about 20 of us, all from different areas of town, all experience levels, all with different cycling goals but it was one of the best experiences. My girlfriends and I enjoyed seeing the city from a different view, as we usually ride on the South East side of town and the private brewery tastings was amazing. And how much did this ride set me back for a morning of fun and new friends? Just a $10 minimum donation to the MS Foundation, a worthy cause benefiting great people.
So the bottom line for this ramble, when you just don’t want to get out of bed/off the couch and get those miles in, just start out with a few. The more miles you do the less you sit on the couch and the more accomplished and refreshed you feel. Also, get out there and meet people. There is a home in this cycling world for every type of rider. Recently I have read a couple of articles saying that cycling is the new golf for the business world. I can attest to that, cycling in a club or participating in a social ride is great for the body, heart and soul and an amazing way to network and meet new friends for life.