Friday, February 14, 2014

I Think I'm In Love With My Bike

I have no anticipation of a romantic evening out for Valentine's Day.

There's about 18 inches of snow on the ground outside. My SUV is still buried in the wonderful frosting of mother nature. If I leave home today, it will be on foot, perhaps pulling a sled, and in the company of my dogs. My husband spent an hour this morning fighting his way to work after finding a tractor-trailer jackknifed on the next road out from ours, which also has not been plowed.

All the same, I think I'll spend an hour or so with my newest infatuation.

Don't tell anyone, but I think I'm in love with my stationary bike.

I may even give it a Valentine today.

I bought the bike back in the summer, when I was just frustrated by my inability to get out of the house and move due to the demands of three small children and the general uncooperative nature of the weather when I had free time. I wanted a cardio option that didn't require leaving the house or perfect outdoor conditions.

But like most pieces of home fitness equipment, it sat generally unused in my small bedroom until December. Although it is light enough to move, it is still cumbersome and the idea I originally had of moving it to watch TV just hadn't panned out.

Then one day in desperation I fired up some Amazon Prime video on my Kindle, popped in my headphones so I could hear, and rode my bike for 30 minutes (a good fit, since the bike also came from Amazon and was selected based on its reviews). It wasn't an everyday thing, but I discovered it did in fact make me feel better, just as I had envisioned.

I had gotten myself into a fairly regular habit of riding by mid-December and had found that a 5-mile ride, or 30 minutes whichever came last, was helping to break up the cold I was fighting. I was just finishing up a ride to nowhere when I received the phone call telling me that my son was dead.

In the general depression and apathy that followed, and perhaps in an aversion to the association with the call, I had pretty much avoided the bike in the nearly two months since then. Then a couple of weeks ago I decided it was time to ditch some of my doldrums by committing to six hours of exercise a week.

My bike and I had to get friendly again.

I'll admit, initially the relationship was a little shaky. I struggled to get in 30 minutes and didn't even look at the mileage. But I rode it almost every day as my cheat for that much exercise.

Last Friday, I don't know what happened, but I apparently was in the zone and I rode it nearly an hour. Zumba Saturday morning nearly killed me as I discovered exactly which muscles I had been using on that ride.

One day this week I repeated the feat with a lot less soreness after the fact.

I'm planning on doing it again today.

Yes, it's a bike ride to nowhere and far from the best exercise a person could get I'm sure. At the same time, it's so much better than no exercise at all.

The fact that I can watch videos, read or even play games and talk on the phone while I ride means it fits well into my day. Heated or air conditioned as the season warrants, I'm beginning to see a long term relationship developing, regardless of the return of friendlier weather and sunny blue skies.

No, it's not going to take the place of long walks with my dogs, hikes in the woods, or my addiction to Zumba. But it has not only piqued my interest in its capabilities, because it hangs out with the Bowflex I'm on speaking terms with that piece of equipment as well.

Considering that I bought the bike in August, I think it's time our relationship developed. Now, I've really got to go. I think I hear it calling.

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