Although almost every hotel I visit has a modern gym, all those workouts and time spent running in place just never attracted me. To me, a minute spent not reading anything new, or doing something intellectually stimulating is a waste.
But, there comes a time in every man's life, where he has to face facts and start exercising more than his brain. Seeing the beautiful spring weather outside my window, and since I live in a city that respects and encourages bicyclers (almost every road has a dedicated bike lane), I decided a bike was the way to go. I mean, how hard can it be? You get on a bike, acquire your balance point, put one foot on each pedal and away you go. Right?
Now, I've been "deciding" to buy a bike for almost 2 years now, but today I decided to put an end to this procrastination. I took a cab ride to Sports Authority (3.5 miles away from my apartment) and intended to buy a bike and ride it back. The punishment in case I weasel out and not buy a bike would be a 3.5 miles hike back home.
So, after buying a decent bike (Columbia, pictured above $180), a helmet ($30), a lock ($10), a water bottle ($10) and an insurance policy (don't ask why, it just seemed to make sense at the time - $22), I was on my merry way home.
The first turn was a wrong turn - riding a bike has a different perspective than driving a car. After a short adjustment I started merrily pedaling home. My next realization was that in an intersection, a rider has one extra direction to look at before proceeding to cross - behind him. Luckily that lesson was learned without casualties.
The last, and harshest lesson of the day came very close to home. I left home skipping both lunch and breakfast. I just ate a peach and drank a glass of lemonade, before boarding the cab. Sadly, my body doesn't operate on air alone and very close to home it broke down. I started feeling nauseous and had to sit on a bench, and then lie on the bench, while system shut down. It took me 10 minutes to regain my composure (during which I must have looked like a drunken bum to people passing by). After using some ancient Chinese breathing techniques (not really - just breathing hard and deep ) to get my blood pressure up, I manged to get home. I've never experienced such a sudden and complete drop of energy in my life (and that includes my army service, where I'm sure I ran longer distances than I biked today).
Here are my conclusions from today:
- Everyone looks redicolous in a bike helmet - don't let that stop you from wearing one.
- Even though I've driven a computer and used a car before, I still don't understand why my bike has 21 gears, and how and when to use them.
- Always expect a car behind you. Even if you can't see it.
- That hard breathing you hear in your ears while biking is yours .
- Eat and drink before you hit the road. If your body is to burn calories, it has to have some ready to burn.
- Going from 0 miles a day to 4 might not have been my brightest idea so far - but I don't regret it .