Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cycling



I used to walk 5 km every evening until my knee surgery almost 4 years ago. Pounding pavement after work is not kind to my joints so I tend to meander along natural trails at a slow pace when I go for a walk. My aerobic fitness level took a big dive so this summer my husband and I each got a new bicycle. A co-worker recommended a certain bike shop and for the first time in my life I was fitted for a bike by people who really know and love bicycles. This Giant Suede is a cruiser with a slightly recumbent frame. I started slowly by going around the block a couple of times and then through the neighbourhood park. At the end of the first week, my knees were swollen and painful and I wondered if I had wasted money. But after another couple of weeks of gradual training, the pain was gone and my strength and endurance increased daily. I have worked up to 10 to 12 kilometer rides at this point.


I found the web tool geodistance.com where joggers, walkers and cyclists can plot their routes. I enter my postal code to zoom into my neighbourhood and all the local trails are well marked on the map. The bike allows me to explore linear trails like the one above that are too long to round-trip on foot. 


We are fortunate to have many kilometers of well groomed trails in our region. This one used to be a rail line along the Grand River. The scenery is beautiful and wild life is abundant. I saw many birds today and deer and other mammals are often about.

Northern Flicker
The days are getting shorter and cycling season will soon be over as winter approaches. We have a stationary bike but you cannot coast down a hill and feel the cooling breezes before you pump up the other side. And nothing on a television screen compares to the discoveries made on a trail.


I will have to use the indoor bike through the winter in order to avoid another painful initiation to pedalling in the spring. There are a few more weeks of beautiful fall weather to enjoy and I hope get out frequently before the snow comes. Toronto Island, the Niagara Parkway, the city of Ottawa... My list of places where I want to cycle is getting longer. It isn't hard to keep up something you love to do!

The other bike- A Giant Sedona- (distorted perspective)

7 comments:

  1. Well, I have to say Ruth, that I adore my recumbent bike at home. (It's a Schwinn 240.) And, I turn on a fan to blow a nice breeze which makes it even better. Instead of watching TV while I bike, I take my Kindle downstairs and get to read for an hour. It's heaven to me. Exercising while reading... why, it almost negates that I'm exercising! I do the programed rides so that it makes it feel as if I am going up hills and coasting down and in an hour usually ride 15 miles (24km).

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  2. Ruth,

    I agree with you about how much fun biking can be. I bought myself a good bike from a reputable dealer here in Strathroy when I retired (the first time). I have a bike rack on the back of my fan. The local conservation areas have good trails. And the Pinery Provincial Park has excellent bike trails and the Pinery is only about 45 minutes from here. Combining an afternoon of biking with a picnic lunch or supper makes for a wonderful day. Pretty good excercise for a 65 year-old guy like me.

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  3. Glad you found a way to get good exercise that is kind on your knees. We have a few bikes we take with us and bike from time to time but not enough.
    they do make something you can put your bike on inside for the winter and exercise with it.

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  4. @Jayne- I don't have a recumbent bike like yours but it would surely make an indoor workout more enjoyable. The most important thing is to find regular exercise that you like to do. You are very committed to your fitness routine and it is nice to see that Sam likes the bike too.
    @Dave- I must add the Pinery to my list too!
    @Dawn- I am looking at stands for the bike so you can use it indoors. They are surprisingly expensive!

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  5. We cycled a lot about 7 years ago, but certain problems ensued, and now we don't. It was great and I do miss it.

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  6. Great photos of the leaves and the flicker. I'm glad you're having fun with biking.

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  7. Isn't biking up a beautiful trai great? I got into biking again just about a year ago when I tried to trade in the old bikes but could only get store credit. it's another great way to enjoy the outdoors.Glad it's working out for you even though some pain comes with it.

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