I rode a bike in two areas on my mission. I was perhaps the only sister (or missionary for that matter) in my mission who liked biking as a form of transportation. My first day on the bikes in Liverpool, NY was terrible. We rode approximately 1.8 miles to a member's apartment and it kicked my butt. Mind you, I was in a walk area for seven or eight months prior to this, so I wasn't totally out of shape. That night I couldn't sleep because my legs hurt so bad. But I got used to it. In my last area, we'd ride anywhere from 6 to 20 miles in a day. My friend and former mission companion L can attest to this. She questioned my sanity when we rode to places like Chittenango and Delphi Falls. With that said...
That was three years ago. I decided for the summer, I want to bike into work because its only nine miles down to work and I've got the time and energy to do it. And it will save on gas. And I need exercise and I need to lose weight. It's a win/win situation.
Today I decided to see where I'm at with biking so I took my bike for a 5.5 mile ride. If it was flat, it would be a piece of cake. But I chose a hilly path. On the uphills I was averaging about 5 miles an hour and 14 mph on the flat sections.
After my dad got home he told me about a lower gear I can access on the left handle bar that I didn't know about. So maybe I could have done better on the hills had I known there was a lower gear than what I was doing. I went south just under three miles and then turned around and went back. So I had mostly three miles of downhill followed by three miles of uphill. Note to self: Don't do the downhill part first. Maybe even find a bike path that has fewer stop signs.
Stop signs suck. When stopping, lean uphill rather than downhill. You'd think because I have some experience in snowboarding on hills that I'd transfer that knowledge but I didn't. The end result was hitting that top tube in the last place one would like to be hit. I don't know what the girl-equivalent term for "nutting" is but thats basically what happened.
The other problem is I was riding my dad's road bike which is a 53 cm frame and I should be riding between a 46-50 cm frame. You might think 3 cms wouldn't make that much of a difference but I felt like riding something more my size would be more comfortable. And maybe having a women's specific bike with the top tube a little lower would help when I need to stop.
No matter where on the handlebars I had my hands, I felt a lot of weight on my palms and that was probably the most annoying part.
When I got home, I walked up the stairs and my legs felt like noodles. But I've been home an hour now and I feel fine. We'll see how sore I am in the morning.
On Thursday I think I'm going to find somewhere to rent a bike for a day. I want to try a smaller frame to see if I like that better. But if I do, that will present a problem :) Anyway, I had a goal to be riding into work by Friday this week but I think that'll be put off another week or so. I need to figure out the bike situation and then work up to being able to ride 9 miles uphill.
All in all, I enjoyed my ride today. It was a relaxing workout. Except for the part where I tripped. And the stop signs in the most inconvenient of places. For example, there is this a downhill section followed by a sharp uphill. If I could have started at the top of the hill, sped down to gain speed and then go up, that would have been ideal. But no, there is a stop sign with a cross street with fast cars so you have to stop. then start from a stand still at the bottom of the hill. It sucks. And one time I was downshifting and I think the bike got stuck between two gears and I didn't know what the heck to do about it. I guess I got it figured out cause I finished the ride.
It was like the first day snowboarding. I couldn't stay standing up very long. I fell a lot. Couldn't turn. My legs were sore from using muscles I wasn't used to using. I wouldn't call anyone's first day on the slopes real snowboarding (well except for maybe T's first day). Everyone has a sucky first day boarding but either you love it enough to persevere through the learning process or you hate it enough to never go again.
I'd prefer to keep pushing through till I can ride my bike to Salt Lake and back.