Sunday, July 26, 2009

Our New Adventure: Week 1

So Rob and I are preparing for some bicycle touring. Next to moving to another country, this has got to be one of the most challenging things I have ever done, because
  1. I am way out of shape.
  2. It's my first time ever riding a bike in any serious way. I don't even know how to shift or clip into the pedals.
  3. I'm clumsy. I haven't fallen over yet, but I will soon, I'm sure.
  4. I'm about 15 pounds overweight, which makes hills that much harder.
  5. I'm old. O.K., so I'm the same age as Lance Armstrong, but he's considered an old dog for cycling, and I have 1/1000th of his capacity.
It's been a week since I've had the bike, and I've been out every day on it. I've definitely had some "What was I thinking?" moments. The first day riding I flipped out going uphill when I had to stop and couldn't get started again, broke down crying because I was scared and panicked, and walked it down the hill. I've improved since then. I can get started on a hill now, even if I am a little clumsy about it. I've gotten used to shifting, but still have a little trouble clipping in. I'm not a very good climber, and get scared descending very fast. I haven't ridden with the panniers yet. I've been exhausted all week.

However, I've managed two hours solid in the saddle my first week, which is pretty good. I'm getting more comfortable riding with traffic, (although riding on empty country roads is what we aim for), and I can feel my body starting to adapt little by little.

We have an apartment booked in Bariloche for two months in the South American Summer, so I need to have the basic fitness to cycle daily in the Andes. I've looked at the pictures of the views from some of the rides, which as definitely kept me motivated. (That, and the hope that I will lose the extra 15 lbs.)

After I get past the "Oh my god, this is torture" phase, I can see the fun at the end of the tunnel. Rob and I can chat as we ride along, and enjoy the outdoors together. It will keep us healthy, and provide us with a way to see other parts of the world.

Nothing worth doing is ever easy. But this is definitely worth it.

This post was written, in part, for where Julia writes about her expat adventures, as well as on this blog. You can follow her in both places.


Nicola said...

I'll take you on a few training rides while here in San Francisco. Biking is an amazing way to see the world! Ride on my friend!

Darren Alff said...

It sounds like you are off to a great start on your bicycle touring endeavors. The good thing about traveling with your bike is that, unlike Lance and the Tour de France, it isn't a race. There is no need for you to push yourself too much. Just get out there, go at your own speed, and have fun! Keep it up!