I don’t like walking.
I hate running.
This is way healthier – much better for your joints.
I have liked cycling ever since I learnt to ride a bicycle. I never had one for myself until I was 10 or so, but a girl about my age, who lived next door to us, always let me ride hers when I was six.
I’ve done quite a few bike vacation trips. The most epic one was to Britanny, which was 1200 miles round-trip, in a little under four weeks. With camping luggage.
These days are now behind me, of course. But I still do my shopping by bike, and it is my desire to have my next job within cycling distance.
Almost two years ago, my wife suffered a small cerebral stroke. This has hit her harder than we expected, and as a result, we decided to buy e-bikes. I didn’t feel like I needed one, but she did.
In retrospect, this was a good thing. When I came down with retroperitoneal fibrosis, this took a toll on my body… and on top of that, the treatment involves massive quantities of prednisone. This does not do wonders for your level of fitness – I have trouble climbing two flights of stairs. Add to that that the Prednisone made me gain 30+ pounds in 3 months, and it’s clear that cycling distances is not gonna be any easier. But the electrically assisted bike allows me to keep moving, which is better than forsaking it altogether and taking the car.
At this stage, a 10 mile trip on this e-bike is still… well, not a Herculean effort, but it does wear me out. It definitely qualifies as ‘good exercise’.
Being an engineer at heart, again, the technical side has always held my interest. As a teenager, I used to frequent a high-end racing bike shop in The Hague, where its owner showed me the ropes, and I ended up part-timing there when I was in school. I also ended up assembling my own bikes as well as bikes for my girlfriend, and later for my wife.
My wife’s bike had a lot of classic Dura-Ace stuff on it, but I have to admit that the more recent Ultegra group I used on my Koga bike pictured above was at least as good. I wanted to build a more modern bike for my wife too, but she didn’t want to hear about it – she liked the red Batavus too much.
Our current e-bikes are Flyers. Flyer is a Swiss brand that doesn’t mind spending (and charing) a bit more money and effort on building a bike than most mainstream brands. Deore XT rather than standard Deore stuff, excellent disc brakes on mine and Magura hydraulic rim brakes on my wife’s bike, expensive saddles and handlebars, a brilliant Panasonic motor, a big fat battery that’ll take you 90 miles according to the manual, and the most expensive, hardest-to-penetrate tires Schalbe makes.
So… yes, even though we’re both in a condition that would have prevented us from enjoying cycling trips ten years ago, we still do so today.
And yes, I try to avoid taking the car to do my shopping whenever I can. If that means I have to make two trips to the supermarket, I work from the assumption that this gives me twice the cycling enjoyment.
Anyone else into bicycling?
(Tomorrow’s instalment: writing code!)