Lifestyle

Why I like cycling for fitness

Photo: Maximum Panda, flickr. Used with a CC BY 2.0 license.

When I started cycling, I did so out of necessity. I needed a way to get around town without driving my then-piece-of-junk car. It was an easy, cheap transportation method (much faster than walking) but I found it enjoyable. I stuck with it. I thought in this post I would present some info about what makes cycling great.

Fresh air

I don’t live in a polluted city. My idea of fresh air is a country road lined by trees away from civilization. I’m lucky that I live where the fresh air is abundant (well, sometimes a little too fresh when you are near a cow pasture. Ha ha.) It’s good to just get outside.

Views

The views can be spectacular when riding by bicycle. I can go places that cars can’t and that makes it worthwhile. Driving in mountain states is amazing, but being able to mountain bike on trails in those states is even better. The view is so awesome riding through the woods, down a mountain, or crossing a stream. Don’t believe me? Check out the 401 trail in Crested Butte for mountain biking. That’s not to say I don’t like road biking. I do. I do it a lot. It gives me a chance to pedal at a slower speed and see things I would normally miss if I was in a car.

Feels good

I don’t know why I feel better when I exercise, but I do. I’m sure there’s info and studies about how certain chemicals are being produced in the brain. I just know I feel better when I exercise.

Related to feeling: It provides a sense of escape for me. I selectively ignore some of the stuff that’s weighing on my mind when I ride. My focus becomes more ephemeral — i.e., time to climb this hill or look at that deer in the woods!

Community

I like the cycling community, too. These are people willing to exercise and stay fit. Sure, there are eccentrics on every end of the spectrum.

Gear

I’m reluctant to mention gear for a couple reasons. The first is that most people don’t need to worry about gear. Whatever bike they have — as long as it fits and is mechanically sound — is good enough. The second is cost. It is great to have the latest bling but totally unnecessary. This stuff is expensive.

It’s possible to buy the same style race bike that a Tour de France champion rode for under $10K. The performance of these machines is outstanding. They are really light, stiff, and haul. Race bikes are a lot of fun, but they are expensive and probably not worth it unless you are in the hobby pretty deep.

I like to customize my stuff. For me, the customization process involves getting every part to fit and work for me. Part of this is my love of tinkering. I like to wrench on bikes. I like being in the garage.

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