Today I biked with my extended group of tri friends for the 1st time. Yes, there was the time 4 years ago when I borrowed my friend’s bike ……but 4 miles into the ride, the chain broke and my wife had to rescue me. This time I actually got to the planned 10 mile mark and turned back and made it home to tell all of you about it. This was a big deal to me as they are very advanced in their biking skills, having gone for years together as a pack for rides up to 60 miles.
In 1993 my friend Jim from Saddle Brook bought a hybrid bike, bought a helmet and some cool “bikewear” and started biking casually. I felt the need to follow and bought a Ross Pegasus hybrid also. For a couple of years we sporadically biked together and I had my bike tuned up a couple of times. I went on a bike trip with my friends in PA for 40 miles. Unfortunately, after this time it sat for a good 12 years in multiple garages as I moved around eventually to my current house.
When the kids were young I went biking with them for a couple of miles, but never more than that. In 2012 my neighbor asked me to complete a duathlon (run-bike-run) in NYC by borrowing his bike. I had a fun time with the guys – it was a raw cold morning and we went for breakfast afterwards and I was home by 10:30 AM!
Covid in 2020 came and my youngest daughter asked me to bike with her and we got up to 7 miles after a few weeks. The same neighbor then started to pressure me in a friendly way to get a new bike. My old one is 27 years old ! Over the summer I biked the most in my life, about 50-80 miles a month, not much by biker standards, but a lot for me. In September I completed a ‘fake virtual’ triathlon from our town pool of a 800m swim, 5M run and 17M bike, again with the old bike. The pressure mounted as all my friends said I needed to upgrade and, of course, because of Covid, bikes were very hard to get, with some models only having availability in 2022!
I kept on checking various brands and stores and, lo and behold, the right bike Trek Emondo 2020 model became available and I got it in February 2021. I accessorized with what I needed as far as lights and bag and minicomputer and I was ready to go. For a few weeks I practiced riding it including clipping on and off as I had never used bike clips before.
The guys told me about today’s ride on Thursday and I said I was in. I was as nervous as before a race because I didn’t know what to expect. My sleep was not very restful – this was just a training ride…. I had been watching my friends’ posts in Strava from their indoor Zwift rides and they had been going extremely fast (for me). It was a clear and sunny morning and a perfect temperature of 48 degrees. Thankfully the ride up to where I turned around was generally hilly and that slowed them down enough for me to stay close. They broke off around mile 9.5 to continue on for their 50 mile ride. I turned around in a different spot and a gentleman also biking the same direction talked to me for a few minutes around that time. The way back was generally downhill so it was good as I was tiring. The weird thing that happened on the way back was that my hands, particularly my left, started getting numb and I had to keep on moving and squeezing them to get the feeling back. If anyone has a tip on that, please let me know. My average speed was not that fast, but it included a few stops to wait for people and at traffic lights. All in all, a good first ride with my new bike – happy that I gave a gift to myself after 25 years!
Any cross training that a runner does will help enhance their conditioning and strengthen muscles that they don’t normally use. Overall, this helps lengthen running careers and helps prevent injuries. We runners are always strong in our legs in our regular repetitive forward motion, but weak in many other areas. Find sports that you like that use different muscles and do them. Find new people to work out with that will lead you in those different directions. Run or bike in different locations to get new memories of places you have been. I doubt I will ever love biking as much as running. But if it becomes a part of my training that keeps me in shape and lengthens my running career by 10 years, it is worth exploring. Broaden those horizons and, above all, have fun!
With Running Fun,