I can always tell when I am working away from my home office. In the Mighty P’s Seattle office, most people have stopped asking me why I ride home from work in the rain. why I sign up for things like the RAMROD (10000 ft of combined elevation climbing) or just in general, “Why do you ride?” I think it’s because they know if they ask these questions, I will talk their ears off.
Here in Spokane, they aren’t used to that. So I have had many of these questions over the last 4 weeks. Yesterday, though, I read an article that supports exactly why I ride!
The article was on Bicycling.com and titled Ride for your Life.
It’s short, so feel free to read it, but the gist is: Riding your bike makes you live longer!
For some people, that would be enough right there. No one wants to go to the happy bike path in the sky before they have to. For me though, just living longer is not enough. In fact, as frequent readers know, I am deathly afraid of getting old.
“Why?”, you may ask. Well I will tell you. I have seen way to many people, even at my age of 50, but definitely as they hit 60s, 70s and beyond who are lucky to just walk down the hall. Who wouldn’t even consider climbing the stairs, let alone going for a hike, and who spend an inordinate amount of time complaining about their ailments. The thought of this has honestly scared me since my early 20s.
Now, though, I can see it is NOT inevitable that will happen, and it is due to the bike!
All the article discusses is the fact that regular riding, or exercise in general, helps with a longer life. I don’t think anyone would argue with this. But being on the bike as often as I am, I can add additional science (OK, I admit my observations are NOT considered controlled scientific experiments and research, but in my mind it works!) to this.
I not only see people much older than I am anytime I ride, quite frequently these older dudes and dudettes are passing my ass! No one ever told them they should be riding a rocker instead.
They get out every chance they get. There is one guy, in particular, I see almost every day. If he is under 75 I would be amazed. He is heading in the opposite direction, smiling and we nod at each other each and every day. I would lay odds he has a helluva more miles than I on most months.
What this tells me is that the old conquistadors who traipsed all over Florida back in the 1500s looking for the fountain of youth were barking up the wrong tree. It’s not a fountain, that makes you feel young its the bike!
Running, made me cranky and I had to push myself to do it for exercise. It was not fun and sure as hell did not make me feel younger. Hiking put me at peace and in awe of nature, I loved it, and still do, each time I do it. In fact, I wish I could do much more. But, nope never made me feel young. And spin class? Hell. I come out of there feeling like a smelly, overweight, uncoordinated old geezer! I count it as a win though that I never stopped pedaling or breathing, and the paramedics have yet to be called for me!
On the bike, though, whether riding to the store or 100 miles, I can’t help but remember the feeling of freedom I had on the very first ride, and that continues to this day. I feel 30 years younger on the bike than on my feet. (nope not exaggerating!)
So, want to live forever? More importantly. live forever and still enjoy life? Start riding today. You don’t have to go far, just around the block, or to the store, or in the park, anywhere you can feel the wind in your face. I will bet, the more you do it, the more you will want to, and the farther you will want to go. You may never want to do 200 miles in a day, but 50 mile rides are some of the best.
Never ridden a bike? Check out local bike clubs. I learned last week that mine, Cascade Bicycle Club, has one on one classes for adults who want to learn how, or need a refresher. The clubs can also help you find the best routes to take for beginners and when you become more advanced.
Then, someday, you may see this old gray balding fart. with serious old man eyebrows cruising down the road, with a big stupid grin on his face. If you do, especially if he has some serious old man eyebrows it could be the 125 year old version of me! (I already have the eyebrows!)
Like the wind folks!