Weighty Matters

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Drive-Free Day

When I have a chance on a weekend, I like to not use my car for an entire day. It isn’t always possible, but I’ve managed to do it a couple of times in recent weeks. Instead of driving today, I operated on pedal-power. It was the first day since I returned from my trip that I’ve been able to get out on my bike and, coincidentally, the first day when I had enough energy. I rode first to Tail Chi class and then up to my friend’s salon for an eye treatment. From there, I cruised over to the animal shelter and then home. All told, I put in about 12 miles, plus did the hour of Tai Chi.

I’m glad I got all of that exercise done in the morning, because I was fairly lazy around the house for the rest of the day. I cleaned the pool and sorted through some old snorkeling gear. I read out on the porch and talked to a friend. I took the boat out for a short ride to see how everything was working. It’s in good order for a snorkel trip with friends tomorrow.

I guess this technically means I wasn’t completely drive-free since I “drove” the boat. That’s why I’m not calling this a fuel-free day.

The point is that I could have driven around the town in my car, but I didn’t. I opted to go around powered by my body so that I’d benefit from the exercise. My muscles felt good during and after. My mind and spirit did as well. It lights me up that I’m not fazed about a 12 mile bike ride. I’m not fazed by 20 miles either.

There was a time when even driving around to do errands on a Saturday made me tired. Now I get a little extra jazz from going drive-free.

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Like Riding a Bike

You know that old saying when you try to do something you haven’t done in a while? “It’s like riding a bike,” they say, meaning that once you know how, you don’t really forget.

I put that theory to the test today. Literally. I just bought myself a brand new bicycle! It has been at least 15 years since I rode a bike. I know that because I haven’t ridden once since my mother passed away and that’s coming up on 15 years. It might be closer to 20 years, but who’s counting. Clearly it’s a lonnngggg time.

As you know, my doctor and I want to incorporate even more vigorous exercise into my activity. The challenge is how to do more in my already busy days. I already know I hate the idea of going to a gym. There aren’t additional Zumba classes held at times when I’m not working. I can do more at home, but it just seems to lack a little of the oomph I need. So, I’ve been thinking of bike riding which would be good with my weaker knee, fun, and it’s also something that I can incorporate into other activities by just allowing for slightly more time. For example, if I give myself an extra 15 minutes, at least that’s what I’m estimating, I can ride my bike back and forth for Tai Chi classes. On a night after work when I’m not committed to something else, I can take a bike ride. I can even do so and still also take the dogs for a separate walk. We’ve already established that Nat and Pyxi do not like to keep up quite the pace that I need for cardio.

We have a good bike shop in town, so I stopped in today to check things out. I was honest about my long hiatus from bike riding and what I wanted it for. The guy was great and showed me different models that he thought would suit. “Want to take one out for a ride?” he asked. “Sure,” I answered and wheeled out the door. “If crash, my health insurance card is in my wallet.”

Honestly, it really was like I’d just done it yesterday. I immediately found my balance and tooled around the parking lot, confidence growing with every spin of the tires. We adjusted the seat height (Boy is that a lot easier to do than it was when I was a kid.) and I took another test. That quickly, I was sold.

The new bike is beautiful! Sturdy, simple, well-designed. Bonus — I got it in light purple! The bike shop owner was attaching my accessories (lights, bell, water bottle holder, rack for removeable basket) a little while ago and now I’m going to pick it up and ride home. Planning to be smart about this endeavor, I bought a helmet too.

The next phase of fitness has begun and, in this case, spinning my wheels is a good thing!

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So I took my bike out for a spin this evening. I need a little practice because my balance is fine but my steering is a little wobbly. I wasn’t confident when passing someone on the bike path. I sort of overcompensated. I might have crashed, um, closely investigated a hedge. No fall. No harm done. 😜

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