Laughing Right Out Loud

Friday, February 19, 2010

Notes From a Beginning Cyclist

This has been an incredible week for me. My mother's surgery was successful and was met with a week-long visit from my brother. My brother came to town with two bikes in tow - his 1974 Schwinn Le Tour II single-speed and his gently used Trek 7300. We had discussed this in advance and he offered to gift to me the Trek.

After we unloaded the bikes, we removed various components and cleaned both bikes really well. Once everything was put back together, I hopped on the Trek for a quick ride down the street. My first reaction was how incredibly smooth this bike was. I have never ridden a non-department store discount bike. As such, I always loathed riding. This bike immediately did away with all those ill feelings toward the sport.

After dealing with snow and ice from Sunday to Tuesday, my brother and I set out for a ride on Wednesday. I downloaded a map from the local bicycle club ( and we set out for the 11.4 mile ride. This being my first ride on a bike since the teenage years, I tired easily and had to make a couple of brief stops, but through my dedication we finished the ride in just over an hour. I know 11 miles is not much, but for me it was a huge accomplishment.

Scott lessoned me on cycling ettiquette and rules while letting me lead the ride at my pace. We saw some beautiful countryside, overprotective dogs and bulls, and even a texting driver coming down the middle of a double-lined road (but still missing us by several feet).

On Thursday I had to go to Nashville for a conference, but was itching to get back out there on the bike. As Scott and I were having dinner with the family, we made plans to go out for a 5:45 a.m. ride on Friday morning. When 5:45 rolled around it was 21-degrees out. Nonetheless, we bundled up and hit the road. This time around, we reversed the route due to traffic flow expectations (turned out to be the right decision) and we made the ride with no stops AND trimmed a couple minutes off our time from Wednesday. After the ride, Scott showered and departed on his return to Omaha.
I am immensely thankful to Scott for pulling me into cycling and for being so very generous and encouraging.
So where do I go from here? I have definitely been bitten by the cycling bug. I joined today and have found around 30 routes in my immediate area. I have also created a couple of routes that I intend to try as soon as possible. I am going out in the morning for a 15-mile ride and then planning to hit the gym right after I finish the ride. I have reached out to a local cyclist in hopes of striking up a friendship and finding a partner for those early morning rides. Both my rides so far have been on the Trek 7300, but I recently also purchased a used Fuji Finest AL (in excellent condition) and I am planning to ride it on my rides this weekend. I am also searching for a bike for Felicia. I am hopeful that she will find as much fun in the sport as I have found.

Some of my goals include: completing a 30-mile ride by the end of March, a 50-mile ride by the end of June, and preparing for a duathlon that occurs in August. I have never done anything of the sort, but I know that I can do it as long as I stay focused.

In the meantime, I look forward to posting more about my personal successes for anyone who would like to share them with me.


  • Right on! Have fun rediscovering cycling... Some unsolicited advice from a former 300lb'er -- remember that cycling is fun first. Follow that advice and you'll be amazed at how long it took you to get back on a bike. Best, John

    By Blogger John Speare, At 10:59 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger John Speare, At 10:59 AM  

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