What Inspired You to Start Biking -- and What Inspires You to Keep It Up?

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by SierraSlim, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Hi, Y'all.

    Feeling a little pensive tonight. Happens when I can't sleep, and my mind starts wandering..../img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif

    I was thinking about how much biking has changed and continues to change my life, which led me to think about how fortunate I am to have started -- which, in turn, led me to think about why I started. I've said before that, after 30 years of trying to lose weight, I was planning gastric bypass surgery as my final option. I now thank God that I chose a wonderful surgeon, who insisted that any patient of his had to lose some weight before the surgery, both to prove to him that we were committed to the process, and to make the surgery easier and our recovery better. When I told him I couldn't walk to lose weight because of arthritis in my knee and ankle, he suggested swimming or bicycling instead. Since I didn't know how to swim (and would rather die than put this body in a swimsuit in a public pool), I chose bicycling. I had been curious about it, anyway, because Dear Hubby had biked to work for years and seemed to really enjoy cycling. So, as most of you know, I got on the cruiser that had been sitting unused in my garage since we bought it 3 years earlier, wobbled down the driveway and down the street -- and was hooked. Instantly. Within 10 minutes I knew I would continue biking, no matter the outcome of the surgery.

    What I didn't know was how much it would change my life, physically and emotionally, from enabling me to cancel the surgery and lose weight without it, to bringing my husband and me closer together, to providing an emotional place of solace for me when the chronic depression that runs in my family starts its insidious process. And all that is why I KEEP it up, because it is so very good for me in so very many ways. Even this afternoon, when it was dark and cloudy and gloomy and cold and nasty outside, I could make myself put on the layers of clothing and go for a 6-mile ride, because I knew how good it would be for me, weight-wise and emotionally, and how much I would end up enjoying it. But I would never have been able to make myself go to the gym or get on a treadmill or do an exercise video. It's biking. It's something special and unique, and it inspires me to keep moving, keep trying, when nothing else does.

    So those are my reasons. What are yours? I look foward to reading them. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/redface.gif

    Sierra
     
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  2. BHOFM

    BHOFM Active Member

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    To get away from my big fat ugly nagging wife!

    This may be my last post.


    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/duck.gif
     
  3. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Brad,

    I've SEEN your wife. And if she's big, fat, and ugly, I'm afraid I'm Quasimodo! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/frown.gif
     
  4. BHOFM

    BHOFM Active Member

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    K's only comment was,, "I don't nag!".
     
  5. roadhouse

    roadhouse New Member

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    I started riding a bike to and from work, 5 miles each way, on a Wal-Mart Next which the derailer wouldn't work after a few days so I upgraded for another $25 to a Mongoose from the same Wal-Mart. That lasted for about a year.
    At first I was so out of shape ( I was from an early age of 14 a hard core all night party-er and abuser of alcohol among many other substances) that I remember being scared of falling over and this is now in my mid 20's. After that year though, I dropped 20 minutes of my travel time as I was not a sidewalk ridr any longer, I rode in the road and raced vehicles on my route. I used to get up and was excited about getting on my bike to do so.
    Then came the Gary Fisher Marlin, entry level urban mountain bike and one test ride on that was all it took. $500 later I was riding all around Houston on that thing, still racing cars on the road with slicks and riding the trails with knobbies.

    She got stolen. I knew enough by now to realize I was mainly a road rider so next came the $500 down payment for my current full carbon Specialized Tarmac elite. After another almost $2000 which took me some three months to fully work to get and thus pay off, I was and am still set.

    That and I have a favorite jersey, worn and used and given to me by a World's Cross Elitist whom I just so happen to find in my situation an out of this world joy. It's simple pleasure, really, owning a second hand jersey (in relatively new condition) of someone whom has raced Big Lance Armstrong, I am certain he has come in second on one occasion but I think, not sure, he has beaten Lance as well, but twice now in the two years I've had my Specialized and when times were really rough I almost sold my bike, even posted it for sale on a few forums.

    One glance at that jersey and it was decided to not sell, too many fond memories and many I have yet to make....and I still have my bike! ...and of course, the jersey.

    Thanks, you know who!
     
  6. roadhouse

    roadhouse New Member

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    When I put on that jersey, I feel like Superman. I should probably start wearing it daily under my normal attire and in case I hear the meows of a kitten stuck up in a tree or an old lady trapped on a third story by an apt fire, I'll rip open my shirt and be there for the rescue. I'll fight crime, all super hero like.

    That and Lance Armstrong has nothing on me as long as I'm wearing it. I'll even race him and prove it, if he cares to accept. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
     
  7. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    House,

    I'm laughing out loud at the image of you scampering up a tree in your tights and cape to rescue kittens from a tree. Maybe I could hire you to come and get rid of the cat who sits in my tree and taunts my dogs to distraction!

    Have fun saving the world. And thanks for letting me know what inspired you.
     
  8. roadhouse

    roadhouse New Member

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    Glad I could give you a chuckle but I do believe you are slightly mistaken, with said jersey on I am able to leap tall buildings in a single bound so there wouldn't be any scampering involved, I can fly. Seriously, I just flew by your house to check to see if the cat was up in that tree you just now mentioned, he was not, and am already back down here in Houston behind my pc.

    Anything else I can do for? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  9. MMMhills

    MMMhills Active Member

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    I would have to blame my addiction on my son and the president of our local bike club. Let me explain.
    When my son was 3 1/2 he started wanting to ride his bike places like The Park and around town. This brought back fond memories of my childhood and riding around the block with my mom so I decided to buy a bike so that I could ride with him. I had not bought or for that mater ridden a bike in over 20 years so I did not know where to start. After a visit to my LBS I was a proud owner of a new trek 7.5 fx hybrid.
    Here is where it all started a friend found out that I had a bike and she was getting a team together to do a charity ride. This was the Pink Ribbon Ride a local ride that went around Lake Charlevoix to raise money for breast cancer. This was a serious ride of 42 miles. I could not even imagine riding a bike for 42 miles, I thought to myself was this even possible. well I am a very competitive male (not to stereotype) and if this lady could do it well so could I.
    I decided to start training and went back to my LBS for advice. The owner told me that we had many group rides in our area and gave me a schedule. The Wednesday ride fit my schedule so I decided to give it a try. I did not realize that there were different levels, but I was about to find out. I Put on a cotton T-shirt and a pair of regular shorts tied my tennis shoes and was of to meet this group of cyclist. I got there a little early and propped my hybrid up on my shiny new kickstand and waited. A few minutes later a lot of people started to show up and they looked like the pros on TV. Yup I had picked the A group. Soon there was around 20-25 people in Lycra and logo covered jerseys all with these wild looking race bikes. This old man who was 73 at the time comes up to me and asked if I was new (I am sure I stuck out like a sore thumb). I said yes and explained my story to him. he was very nice and gave me some quick pointers to keep me safe as well as the others I would be riding with. They then announced that they were going to do a 75 mile ride that day. I about passed out, This must have been obvious because that old man came over to me and explained that if I got tired that someone would help me find my way home.
    So there I was to proud to just go home and about to start a ride with a group way over my level. As everyone took off I went towards the back so I could see what everyone was doing. I stuck close to the guy in front of me just like the old man said to do but not overlapping tires he had explained that too and this drafting thing did make it easier to go fast. I looked down at my new cool computer and we were going 17MPH I had never gone that fast before and although my heart rate was climbing quickly I could actually go that fast and this was exciting. I was about to find out that they do a little warm up before they hit there cruising speed. About 3-4 miles down the road my legs were burning and I was quickly becoming exhausted that's about the time everyone was warmed up and the speed started to rise to around 20MPH. It was everything I could do to keep close and do this drafting thing. I was getting tunnel vision and was breathing harder than ever. This is when the old man pulled out of line and fell back to me to check and see if everything was OK. He pulled beside me no drafting just out in the wind by himself and looked over and asked how things were going. This guy wasn't even breathing hard, what the heck was he super human. I could barely speak and I said yeah everything was fine. I was lying and he could tell, he went back to the front and must of said something because the speed slowed back to around 17MPH. At mile 7 they stopped at a cross road and the old guy said he was tired and was going to turn around and asked if anyone wanted to go (this was for me of course) I said yes and we slowly rode back to town. I found out that he was the president of the local cycling club and rode around 7-8000 miles a year. I was so impressed and I wanted to be like him.
    my new goal was to be to ride with those guys so I started training by myself. I pushed myself very hard. I did make the 42 mile charity ride with only minor discomfort and at the end of the season I showed up again to ride with that group this time with Lycra shorts, clipless pedals and no kickstand. They took it easy on me and I finished my longest ride of the year 72 miles. I had done it, I was like that old man.
    I knew then that I was addicted and over the winter I did lots of research and build my current bike. a Look 555 carbon race bike. 4 years later and I am one of the strongest riders in the club. I am not bragging just telling my story. The drive to be the fastest and strongest it what keeps me motivated.
    I hope my story can motivate someone to go out and do it because anyone can, it just takes time and determination.
     
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  10. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    MM,

    That is an AWESOME post, exactly what I was hoping to find through this thread. Very inspiring! I chuckled when you ended up in the A group; it reminds me of a time when I went with a friend to an exercise class that she insisted was the beginner's version. I knew I was in trouble when I walked in and all the girls were size 6 in pink spandex. (I was size 18 or 20 in black.) I was in even more in trouble about 5 minutes into their 'warm-up', which was tougher than anything I had done in years. I did manage to make it through the 45-minute class by doing easier versions of every move they made, but honestly thought I was going to either throw up, have a heart attack, or both. And I wasn't lucky enough to have a mentor like you; the instructor kept yelling at me to work harder at it, lol. On the way out we passed the schedule, and my friend had been wrong; this was the advanced version cardio workout. Her mistake nearly killed me, lol.

    How awesome that you were willing to start biking for your son! And how wonderful that that old man took you under his wing and then pretended to be tired on the ride to help you out! It makes me think of the wonderful guys here who have done the same kind of thing with me, answering questions that must have made them roll their eyes mentally, explaining things over and over again, doing research for me to provide answers or suggestions, and always being so kind and patient and helpful. They're all like the kind of big brothers every little sister wants to have. (Love you, guys!!)

    Thanks for sharing. I loved it. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/redface.gif

    Sierra
     
  11. roadhouse

    roadhouse New Member

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    I agree with Sierra, that is one of the better cycling stories I've ever read. Congratulations. Fun, ain't it? If you are into reading about people such as yourself, you might want to check out the book Heft on Wheels by Mike Magnuson. He was a 39 year old 300 pound, two pack a day smoker and heavy drinker who pulled out his old Trek (5200 I think) and got at it. He talks about getting dropped by the group and working his way up to losing over 100 pounds as he quit smoking and drinking and became one of the leaders, eventually dropping the old A racers whom used to drop him, of this group's 100 milers, which is over mountainous terrain in Illinois I think it was. Not saying that you were a drinker or a smoker or overweight, but you still might connect with how he turned the tables. I really enjoyed his story myself.

     
  12. MMMhills

    MMMhills Active Member

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    I was not overweight or a drinker but I was a smoker. I had smoked for 20 years the last 5 as a closet smoker. I was always trying to quit but just couldn't. I found my Cardio system was unable to do what it needed to do to be a competitive cyclist and this was the final straw that helped me quit. It has been 2 1/2 years since my last cigarette and I will never go down that road again.
    I will check that book out.
    Thanks


     
  13. MMMhills

    MMMhills Active Member

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    As far as the A group I can only imagine what they were thinking.

    I now have two boys my oldest just turned 8 and the younger is almost 4. Last year my older boy did the same pink ribbon ride that i talked about in my story with me on a tandem. I bought him a very nice youth saddle and dragged him around the lake. This was a great work out as every time we saw riders he thought it was a race and wanted me to go faster than them. I also have a tag along that I will hook up to it for next year and then drag them both around the lake. Or at least until we have to call mom to sag the younger one home.

    A picture of us on the tandem.
    [​IMG]

    The little blond with the shirt that matches my avatar is my youngest.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    MM,

    What great-looking kids! They must take after their dad,who looks like he's now in Great Shape. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/icon14.gif

    Your kids are a) adorable, and b) very lucky that they have a dad who is teaching them to be active and healthy; it will literally shape their lives in more ways than you realize. My parents never moved out of their recliners, which of course taught us that 'recreation' was watching television while we stuffed ourselves with goodies; as a result, all of us have weight problems. It has taken me nearly 60 years to wake up and realize that the body that doesn't move decays, and I'm just thrilled to have found biking to help me begin the journey to better health. I've gotten my sister hooked, too, so she's beginning to love cycling, as well. I don't know if there's any hope for my brothers, lol.

    Thanks again for the inspiration.
     
  15. roadhouse

    roadhouse New Member

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    Keep it up and awesome that you quit smoking. Now your kids shouldn't smoke either and we all know how you must feel about that!
     
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