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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Rediscover the Joy of a Bicycle

Today I rediscovered the sheer joy of riding a bicycle again. Not only did we find a brand new 26” Cruiser bike in my favorite color, but it was also on sale! The frame is light aluminum and it’s purple!! It also has the larger, more comfortable seat. Now all I need is a rack or a basket on the front to carry small items and I’ll be set.

With safety in mind and of course to set an example, I did purchase a hot pink helmet as well. Now I can cycle with the kids. We did in fact get out today to the park down the street. We figured out how to use bungee cords to tie our water bottles to the handlebars which was really super handy. I know they make holders but this worked in a pinch and I thought it was a rather ingenious “MacGyver” sort of move.

Today was the most perfect day as well. It was sunny and in the low eighties with a light breeze. We strapped our helmets on and down to the park we went. I will have to read up on the safety rules for bicycles as well as brush up on turn signals and such but it was fantastic to be out and getting some exercise. The ducks at the park were sad that we hadn’t brought some bread for them but when I get some type of basket then we’ll be able to bring them some next time.

I will admit I was a bit worried since it’s been well over twenty years since I’ve been on a bicycle. However, it was not hard at all to remember and I was off and racing the kids in no time. Only one small almost mishap occurred when my son stopped literally right in front of me and I had to do some quick maneuvering to avoid a collision. However, I did that with flying colors as well without injuring either one of us. I am super proud of that and ending up with no bruises or scrapes to show either on the kiddo, myself or either bicycle.

My husband is going to get himself a bicycle as well this next weekend and then we can all ride together. Talk about a great family bonding type activity involving exercise as well!! It’s the best of both worlds really. Instead of being couch potatoes we can get out and about and see what is going on outside and around us and get some great exercise as well.

I rode by myself while the kids had dinner to the high school and back. I timed myself also just to push myself a bit. It was hard to keep pedaling at times but just like anything worth doing, sometimes it’s hard to keep going. It only took me seven and a half minutes to get there and back. I will have to drive it to see how far that is in miles just to see how long of a way it was there and back. Then I’ll start keeping track of miles cycled and time to see how it improves as well. I was really ecstatic that I got there and back without passing out from sheer exhaustion! That is a great accomplishment for someone that doesn't get as much exercise as she should!

It really was so much fun and incredible to be out, in control of where you are heading and seeing people all around you doing all kinds of interesting things. Feeling the wind against my skin as I rode was a great reminder from bygone days when I would spend literally hours on my bike riding up and down the street. Saying hello to people and wishing them a Happy Easter and seeing them smile made my day. We spend entirely too much time cooped up in our homes, not seeing the neighborhood around us.

I strongly encourage you to dust off the bicycle you have or save for one if it’s not in your current budget to go out and buy one now. Get out, get some exercise and see what you have been missing. Spend some time with family and friends and enjoy life. We need to slow down and quit being too busy to make time for ourselves. Get back in touch with your inner child again through the simple joy of your own bicycle.

Kathie Hitt