Tag Archives: exercise

A Great Counterpart to Cycling

Long before I started cycling regularly I walked during my lunch break. I enjoyed getting out but it was not the ideal way for me to get exercise. It was only 30 minutes a day and I had to stop for a while during the hottest days of summer. In addition, I was not able to relax during my lunch break.

Cycling solved those problems. I quadrupled my exercise time and I was able to do it without sacrificing my lunch break. I was also able to ride during the hot summer months because instead of being out at mid-day, I was riding in the morning and late afternoon. I also get more breeze while riding than I did while walking.

It is not perfect, however, because I am not getting an upper body workout. My wife goes to an aerobics class a few times a week where they get a more complete workout. That is not for me but I do need to supplement my bike riding with something different from time to time. This weekend I found a great counterpart to my cycling routine: kayaking.

Since we live on the water again we thought kayaks would be fun to have, so Saturday morning we bought a couple of kayaks and as soon as we got them home we put our swimsuits on and put the kayaks in the water.

20130615_kayaking to Cal_2700

Me stuck on a sand bar.

Sitting in the kayak was somewhat like riding my recumbent bike but instead of using my legs I was using my arms to propel myself forward. I am embarrassed to say this but Rose blew me away on paddling. My arms were tired after five minutes but I pushed on. Fortunately we hit a sandbar halfway to Caladesi Island and I was able to get out and walk for a while while my arms rested.

The best part about kayaking is, besides the exercise, it is fun, so I believe I will stick with it like I have with my bicycle. Hopefully, at least once a week, we will actually put them in the water. I know that once a week is not consistent enough to develop a strong upper body but it is one more time a week than I was doing it.

My only other problem is replacing my alternative exercise with another alternative when winter arrives, but I am not going to concern myself with that now.

Advertisements

New Year’s Resolution

I typically do not make a New Year’s Resolution because by February it is usually forgotten about. I am not the kind of person who has a planner or writes things down to remind myself that I need to do something. I’ve tried that but I forget to look at it.

I am pretty happy with my life now. Sure, I would love to have a lot of things but I don’t need much. I think my top two realistic wants are to lose weight and be able to work from home, but I am not going to make that my resolution this year because I am already working toward those goals.

One of the blogs I read is David Padfield’s All Seasons Cyclist. In two recent articles he mentioned that in 2012 he got 330,000 views on his blog and that he rode 6444 miles. I didn’t realize it until he mentioned it in his last post that he is 53 years old, four years older than me, and he is kicking my butt in miles (and readers) but I have four years to catch up.

When I was in my early forties I started developing signs of getting older: aches and pains, sluggishness, etc. I then did a lot of research and learned about healthy eating and since I started commuting to work on my bike, I have got more exercise than I have had in a long time.

I am by no means in perfect shape. I have been somewhat disappointed in my weight loss and I still have some stiffness, which I attribute to my job, but I have improved so much these last few years and I know if I stick with it I will get even better as I get older.

So my resolution this year is to stick with it and never give up. I am going to keep riding and keep writing and I hope by the end of the year I can put myself out there as a good example to others, just as David has done for me.

Trial Run

I went out this morning for my first real bike ride. Before my first ten-mile ride to work on Monday, I wanted to get used to the bike and see what I could handle. After the first mile, I almost changed my mind about starting on Monday. My legs were tired already and it seemed I was in way worse shape than expected.

I put the bike in a lower gear and pushed on a little slower. After that I felt better and the rest of the ride was much easier. The best part is, after raising my wimpyness rating, I was able to lower it back down again.

I wanted to stay close to home because of the weather so I rode around the industrial park near my home for about 45 minutes. The last 20 minutes I rode in a light rain, which actually felt good, but the rain picked up and I decided to head home.

My newly installed odometer said I went 6.5 miles but I am not yet convinced that is accurate. I think I will Google Map the trip to work and compare the distance when I go there.

Now I just need to buy reflectors, which are surprising hard to find, spare tubes, and then track down a clicking noise.

Introduction

I would like to start by introducing myself and tell you what led me to want to start blogging about recumbent bicycle riding. I want this to be from the point of view of a true newbie. Hopefully, I can give you a first hand account of my triumps and failures and all my progress along the way.

My name is Chuck and I am an out-of-shape, middle-aged man who is about to turn 49. I have had a bicycle almost my whole life but unfortunately, ever since I got a license to drive, that bike spent most of the time in storage, except for about six months last year when I rode it the four miles to work once or twice a week.

I started eating healthier about five years ago and lost about thirty pounds but my life situation changed, the bit of exercise I was getting vanished and I gained it all back and then some.

I realized the best way to motivate myself to exercise is to start riding to work again, this is especially motivating at the end of the day when I have only one way to get home. Unfortunately, I now work almost nine miles from home (more if I want to ride safely) and that distance causes a strain on my back and a pain in my butt…literally.

It then occurred to me that a recumbent bicycle would be the perfect solution. I started looking into them and was hit by sticker shock. Most web sites I looked at did not have one under $1200.

Eventually I went to OTE Bicycles in Dunedin, Florida (at the time I lived within walking distance). They tuned up my current bike and  seemed honest and reasonable. They also sell used bikes there and was hoping they would have one I could afford. He did not have any used bikes but he said he could order a Sun EZ-1 for $500.

I took him up on his offer and two days later was disappointed to learn that it was discontinued and he could no longer get it. The next version up was $650, which I might have considered but the price had gone up to $850. The owner (or co-owner, his name escapes me) felt bad and even offered the other bike at his cost, which was just a little more than I wanted to spend.

Two months later I started looking again and decided to put a “wanted” ad on Craigslist. I got an immediate response from someone who had a first edition Sun EZ-1 for $275. My wife, Rose, and I went to look at it, somewhat expecting it to be junk, but were surprised it was in relatively good condition. It even came with a saddle bag and two cup holders. I decided it was a great value and did not haggle over the price.

I took it for a short ride after we got home and in just five or ten minutes I could feel the strain in my leg muscles. I want to ride it the ten miles to work on Monday which means I need to get used to it before then. I know the first day will be rough but I think if I leave early and take my time, it could be fun.

My new “old” recumbent which my cat is investigating. You can read about him at my other blog, badcatchris.com