It’s been quite some time since I’ve put anything new on this blog. I’m a firm believer in the adage if you have nothing to say…be quiet. Hence, I’ve been quiet.
Well, I started bike riding again. Biking is less taxing on my mature lower back and hips. Riding a bike at this age is very much different than when I rode a bike as a kid. Back then we didn’t worry about helmets or even safety for that matter. We rode until we were tired or until we fell off and skinned our knees or until our moms called us inside.
At my mature age, my bike is now equipped with a host of safety and comfort gadgets. Let’s see if I can count them all:
- Rearview mirrors. They come in handy when riding through the neighborhood or venturing on public roads.
- Small rechargeable lights. I have a white one for the front and red for the back. They’re useful for when riding under less than perfectly clear weather conditions. I can set them to remain steady or flash.
- Waterproof portable JBL speaker. I don’t like using earbuds while riding. I like to hear what’s going on around me and I can do that with a portable speaker.
- Quad Lock phone holder: This neat little gadget locks my phone into place on the handlebars. No need to explain why that’s a good thing.
- Go Pro bike mount: I sometimes video my rides. The GoPro proved to be a useful troubleshooting tool. One short video gave the bike mechanic all he needed to figure out and resolve the problem of the annoying clicking and clunking sounds my bike was making.
Of course, there’s the bike helmet and rack for my water container. A far cry from the old days of just hopping on a bike and riding off.
Stat Tracking for the Anal Retentive
Now, this is the meat and potatoes of the ride for me. Don’t get me wrong, I totally enjoy the scenery, fresh air, and good feeling of a bike ride, but there’s something about tracking the stats. I like having hard facts about mileage, pace, and duration of my ride (among other things).
Since I’m early in my newfound biking journey, the best way for me to see hard-core evidence of my progress is by looking at stats. With each ride, I can see the increase in mileage, pace, and length of my ride. Of course, as I continue on this journey, my body will tell me how I’m doing, but in the beginning…stats tell me what my body can’t.
Let’s face it, this new routine has my body angry at me. Various muscles and body parts are telling me to stop riding. Since my body isn’t giving me accurate information, the VeryFit Pro app that came along with my smartwatch will.
VeryFit Pro Fitness App
While the VeryFit Pro app is serving its purpose now, there are a few features I wish it had as it relates to biking. There are other apps that do a better job of collecting biking stats, but I’ll hold off on that for now. Currently, my goal is to increase my mileage, speed, and fitness. This app will suffice for now.
Biking: Outdoors vs Indoors
In the past, I had a gym membership and took spinning classes. I even purchased an indoor bike stand to mount the bike for indoor cycling. That’s all well and good, but in my opinion, nothing beats an outdoor ride. As long as the weather holds, I’ll be pedaling outdoors. I’ll have to figure something else out when Old Man Winter pays a visit.
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I was happy to get an email notification from you. I really enjoy your blog posts, both for the important content, humor, and beautiful writing style. This post did it for me too. I especially enjoyed exchanging ideas with you when we last chatted.
As you might remember, I was able to take my fasting blood sugar from 290 to under 100 in 45 days following a strict keto diet (20 grams of carbs per day for 45 days). During that time, my eyesight went crazy, but you gave me the benefit of your experience and stated that it would likely correct in time. It did – right in line with the timetable you predicted.
Your comments here about riding outside and taking safety precautions we never would have as kids spoke to me and made me laugh. I started taking brief nature walks on our wooded lot five times a day, trying to get in 1,000 steps each time. I’ve also set up a makeshift gym back in the woods where I do one heavy repetition of the push-press or conventional deadlifts during each 1,000 step session. I find these two big compound exercises give me the biggest return on my investment. I’m happy to say the weights I’m using are variously classified as advanced or elite for our age group, but there isn’t a repetition that occurs when I’m not wondering, “Is this where I snap something up?” Now, I’ll also be thinking about your blog post every time I do a rep. Like you say, the youth athlete in us would have never worried about such things.
The good news is that my simple exercise routine each day has me feeling no different than I did in my 20s, except that I’m even stronger at 57 (shocking really, because I was always athletic). I guess so-called “muscle memory” is really a thing – like riding your bike. Parenthetically, because my exercise routine isn’t especially glycolytic, I also try to do several sets of bodyweight calf raises after meals (just until I start to feel a build up of lactic acid in my calves). I’ve found that this hopelessly simple, low-impact exercise is really helpful for lowering blood sugar, and I thought I’d pass this along to you in light of your comment regarding your “mature back and hips.”
The entire time I’ve been typing this response I’m laughing off and on thinking about how 14 year-old Felicia (and definitely 14 year-old Dave) wouldn’t have had rearview mirrors on our bikes. I must say, however, your bike looks a lot cooler than it sounds.
First, let me say that I’m happy to hear from you. Second, let me say that I am beyond impressed with your workouts! OMG! I feel like a slacker! LOL!
My exercise routine of biking, walking and I’ve recently added kayaking (I’ll write about that later), seems to make living life easier. Of course, there’s the usual movement of gardening, cleaning, and grandkids to round things out. Being able to easily get on the floor with them and get back up without the need for assistance is my barometer.
When I’m around groups of folks within my age group, I’m saddened to see that so many have difficulty doing simple things. And, to top it off, the difficulty is a result of continual poor choices. They could turn things around by making different choices, but the mindset of “Well, I’m 50, 60, 70… years old (choose the age), this is what happens.” I couldn’t disagree more!
Dave, you’re an inspiration. Keep it up. Oh, and as far as my lower back/hips, I’ve instituted a route/protocol that has made a significant difference. I’ve got to write about that also.
Keep up the good work!
Hi Felicia. I’m so glad to see you back in the saddle. Well, in this case, on the bike seat. Bikes are certainly not what they used to be. The last bike I rode was probably an old 10-speed (Hm, or was it my cousin’s 3-speed?). It’s been so long ago that I don’t remember. As you stated, biking on the road back in the day didn’t require a helmet, and I didn’t wear one when I rode. And now you bikers have so many devices (some that I’ve never heard of) that the bike sounds more like a souped-up hot-rod. A JBL speaker. Say what? Glad that you explained it because I would have had no idea what that was.
I’m sure my son, who is also an avid biker, is familiar with and uses many of the same gadgets you use. I know he uses a Go-Pro or something similar because he often uploads YouTube videos he makes during his rides.
I envy you, younger folks. I have not lost my love for bike riding, but I prefer not to ride outside among the crazies. So the only bike I ride now is my stationary bike. I don’t knock it, though, because since the pandemic ended my seven-year streak of three days a week gym workout, my stationary bike now provides the bulk of my (at home) exercise routine.
I truly enjoyed reading your post. Looking forward to the next one.
I’ve got to say, I’m impressed with your exercise routine. Seven straight years of 3-days a week is awesome! My brother has a similar habit. I’m not sure if he has a 7-year streak, but he’s pretty consistent.
As far as riding outside, I do have access to a scenic rail trail. I sometimes ride there or I get out early in the morning before there’s too much traffic. Fortunately, my neighborhood is pretty quiet, so traffic isn’t much of an issue.
I wanted to upload one of my short GoPro bike rides, but realized I had to do a bit of finageling in order to get it on WordPress directly. I just didn’t feel like going through the hoops. On my hand-coded sites, I don’t have such issues.
Anyway, I’m glad to hear that your son directed you to my site many years ago. I thank him for that! And, if he doesn’t mind, I’d like to check out a few of his bike riding videos. I’ve got plenty on my GoPro, but most folks just aren’t interested in them so I keep them there. 😀