My 8 Reasons to Just Start, by Joe.
After some time off, it’s easy to get completely overwhelmed with the thought of getting back on the bike.
If it’s been a while, chances are you’ll find yourself looking for your riding gear wondering if you can still slide into it. You might think you need new shoes, a new cap, new gloves, maybe some new socks or a new jersey before you start again. Truth is, no one gives a sh*t about what cap you’re wearing, how old your socks are, or what you look like in your outfit. So throw that excuse out. All that matters is that you get up, get out and just start.
Here’s the kicker: Don’t have much time on your hands for an hour-long ride today? No problem. Just make it 20 minutes. Start with 20 minutes today and be sure to look in the mirror at yourself at the end of it. You’ll be grateful that you got out and you will hold your head high knowing you got after it. I used to go through a whole list of excuses of why I shouldn’t go for a ride. Doing whatever I could to opt-out. All of those excuses were terrible. In my experience, all of them were just plain and simple excuses that block you from feeling good about yourself.
My 8 reasons to just start
It helps to relieve stress
We all need as much help as we can at the moment when it comes to combatting stress. One of those ways is by getting your heart rate elevated through exercise to help you deal with excess amounts of cortisol in your body. Even just 20 minutes in the saddle will leave you feeling much better than you did before allowing you to manage stress better each time.
It’s a great way to explore your neighbourhood
It is likely there are some areas close in your neighbourhood that you never knew existed and what better way to find them than on a bicycle. I’ve been fascinated by the trail system here along the Delta Park Spruit and the wide range of trail options I’ve got. Riding through the neighborhouods around me has also enabled me to get to know my area much better.
Great way to meet new people
Whether it be other riders to greet on the road, runners, or local business owners, you’ll find much more of an opportunity to say ‘hi’ to people who are out and about the same time as you are. There are often times that I’ll see the same coffee shop owner pouring cups and chatting with customers as I ride by. This has been a great way for me to support local businesses while I’m out on my ride or if there’s somewhere that I couldn’t stop into on my ride, I’ll make a plan to do so another time.
It will save you some money
I found when I got my gravel bike that I would make any excuse to go run errands near where I live. The errands got further and further away from my house, I’d head to work on the bike and this would normally have been done in my truck, wasting fuel. Need some food for the house? No problem, I’ll go get it! Need to get to the shop? On my way!
A great way to connect with friends
Personally, I like to train solo; however, there are massive benefits both from a physical and mental aspect to cycling with others. My first ride out of lockdown with someone was with my buddy Dino. It was great for us to catch up and chat along the ride, he taught me some new routes and there were also times where he would get ahead of me a bit which would lead me to want to push myself. We all need some connection with others right now. Maybe you don’t need it as much, but that friend of yours who keeps asking to ride with you could also be reaching out for some connection.
It’s fun for the family!
I’m grateful that my son wanted a bicycle a few years ago, because then my wife wanted to get one and then next thing you know there were three bicycles in the garage. Had they not wanted to do this as a family back then, I may not be here writing this article. Cycling has become a great way for us to head out together, go get some breakfast, explore the hood and exercise together.
Opportunity to head out of town!
Once you’ve gotten to know your neighbourhood with your bicycle, it won’t be long before you start hearing from others about trails and longer rides further from your home. If you’ve built up the confidence at home, it’s time to go! Not just because of the trails but it’s nice to get out of town every once in a while and go exploring. You never know what you’ll find on the trail. Want to see some wild game on a ride, I’d recommend Cradle Moon. There’s a good chance you’ll run into some giraffe and zebra on your next ride there!
Feel good about yourself!
This is a big one for me. No matter what type of exercise you may find yourself doing it’s all about yourself. No one else. It’s about number one! It’s about you wanting to set aside time to make you better than you were yesterday. It’s about wanting to put your health and your wellbeing at the top of your daily priorities.
| WORDS: Joe Fleming @Sotallrightnow |
| IMAGES: Images by Joe Fleming, Dino Lloyd and Alex Bramley |