When I was in college at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, I participated in the first Women’s Little 500 there. It’s hard to appreciate the Little 5 if you haven’t seen the movie “Breaking Away”, or lived in Bloomington. 500 laps on a cinder track on a bike with one gear in relay format – that pretty much explains it. Our team of five girls rode a lot of miles in the hills around Bloomington to prepare for the race, and the bike I rode was a Schwinn 10-speed…I was always a little behind to put it mildly. However, after the Little 5, I borrowed a friend’s Trek road bike and entered in the “Take the Lake” 50 mile bike race. Since I had been training on a big heavy bike, when I got on the much lighter Trek road bike, I flew… and got third place. it was a blast!
These days, though, you won’t find me on the roads. Something happened between then and now (maybe it was the two crashes I had), so the closest I get to that feeling is on the Lifecycle in my closet or the the bikes at the YMCA cycle class. But I still love the bike for cross training, and here are nine reasons why:
1. It’s easy to get my heart rate up. I can either add resistance or speed (or both) and my pulse immediately speeds up.
2. The risk of injury is low. I know this sounds kind of lame. However with a marathon looming…the fewer injury risks the better. Actually this is true for me whether I’m training for something or not. As I get older I am looking for more ways to stave off injuries.
3. It’s easy to create a custom workout on the bike. On my Lifecycle I can choose Hills, Cardio, intervals, or Manual on the settings and all of them are great ways to make the exercise on the bike miore interesting.
4. I can kill two birds with one stone. I can read (which is something I rarely find the time to do) while I’m riding. When I finish, I feel like I really accomplished something.
5. I don’t have to go anywhere to do it! When I was pregnant with #2 (Mary Kate), James bought our Lifecycle. That was 19 years ago and it still runs like a charm. I just go I to my closet and get on the bike and ride. Simple!
6. My kids can be with me. Usually I have to either get up before everyone or leave the kids at home when I want to workout. My home exercise bike allows me to exercise while my younger kids play right near me. My youngest (#9- Sam) is now 2 and a 1/2. Sometimes I have to get off to help him with something, but I can usually get 30 minutes of an uninterrupted workout.
7. I have a go-to workout in case of inclement weather. Living in North Carolina means there are many mornings when I wake to thunder and lightening. Having an exercise bike at home means I don’t have to wait for the weather to clear or drive to the Y to workout.
8. The exercise bike is non-impact, and that is a very good thing for my 44 year old joints. In fact, I think if my legs could talk, they would beg me to ride instead of run on many mornings!
9. I get to sit down and workout at the same time!