When I'm on a bike, I forget so much. I forget about my troubles. I forget about my never ending To Do list. And even though I'm watching my speed and distance, I often forget about the time.
Part of the reason is just the whole zen of riding. But there's a lot going on in your head when you're riding. There's so much to focus on. Cars on the road, clipping in and out at the lights, striving for an efficient pedal stroke, changing gears for the next drop or climb... so much is happening throughout the ride, it's hard to let your mind wander to the less enchanting situations in life.
There's a clarity that comes from all that focus. It's like therapy. Therapy that gets you out of your car and commuter traffic. Therapy that burns 600 calories an hour. Therapy that gives you great looking legs.
I've been riding bikes all my life, but it hasn't been until the last five months that I've felt like I'm actually learning how to really ride. Beyond the technical aspects of cycling, I've learned a few other things, as well.
20 Things I've Learned Riding a Road Bike
- What a kit is and why you should invest in one.
- Eat at least an hour before the ride.
- Eat during the ride. Nothing big. Something like a Clif Bar
- How to change a flat... mostly.
- To pedal through the top of a climb.
- Two ponytails are cute, but one ponytail stays out of your face.
- Cyclists are good people who will stop to help a stranger.
- One water bottle is not enough.
- Gatorade gets you through the second hour and beyond, especially on a hot day.
- Self-sealing tubes are the best money you'll spend.
- Self-sealing tubes will eventually go flat if you commute on crappy roads.
- Riding with a friend keeps you going.
- Riding with a tracker (i.e. Strava) keeps you honest.
- How to blow my nose without a tissue.
- If your back is hurting, your seat is probably too high or too low.
- Riding with a loose exercise tee creates more drag than you'd believe.
- Your body will be covered in a fine film of dirt that sticks to your sweaty body.
- Your nether region starts to go numb around mile 10.
- Padded gloves and wool socks are your friends.
And the number one thing I've learned about riding regularly...
You forget how old you are when you're on a bike.