Tag Archives: bike riding

Bike Riding:The Realities

She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life.
Susan B. Anthony – 1820-1906

When I moved to a new town in late 2008, I found the hills and valleys around town were just too steep for me to enjoy a bike ride. I road my bike on vacations, but that didn’t amount to much riding time. With thoughts of an active retirement in Tucson in my head, I drove around my small town last week and found some streets with more gentle slopes that I felt I could handle uphill and downhill on my 8-speed hybrid.

I discovered that going back to cycling after a long time away was not so easy. We’ve all heard that you never forget how to ride a bike and scientists have apparently proved this, according to this article in Medicine & Health/Neuroscience.

What people don’t forget is how to balance and pedal. You can, in fact, forget how to start and stop.

After finding my bright green T-shirt, water bottle, helmet, and iPhone (in case I got lost), I went out for my first ride in years and discovered that I couldn’t remember how to start. Did I put my foot on the top pedal and push off? Or was it the bottom pedal that I started on?

Settling on putting one foot on the bottom pedal and pushing with my other foot until I was going fast enough that I wouldn’t fall over, I was finally up and pedaling. Fifteen minutes later, I was exhausted. My legs were achy and trembling and sweat was pouring down my face. Not discouraged, I went out the next day and found it a little easier going and rode for a half hour before finally getting off the bike and pushing it off up last hill. There’s a long way to go to become the confident, strong bike rider I was as a child, if that’s even possible.

The best part of riding a bike, to me, is feeling the breeze on my skin on a hot day. It’s no wonder that a dog likes to stick his head out of a car window to feel the wind in this face!

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Pedaling Tucson…

Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.
H. G. Wells – 1866-1946

 

One thing I like about Tucson is that it’s a great place for riding bicycles. There are a number of websites devoted to cycling in Tucson, including the city’s bicycle program that describes plans, improvements to trails, and other local cycling issues. Visit Tucson writes that Tucson is the third best bicycling city in the country, according to Bicycling magazine. The Visit Tucson website also has information about its 500 miles of metro bikeways. Another useful resource, Arizona Bike Rides, describes Tucson’s best bike rides.

Postscript —

Tucson seems to have the greatest number of bicyclist fatalities of any major city. I don’t know if the drivers aren’t careful around bicyclists or if bicyclists aren’t careful around cars.