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Get on Your Bike and Ride!

By Krista Elliott

If you had a bike as a kid, you probably remember the glorious freedom of it. The wind whipping past your face as you stood up on the pedals and pumped as hard and fast as possible to reach the park or the corner store — you and your bike were one, exploring all of the hidden areas near your home and school. And if you had a few spills, or even a few abrupt sails over the handlebars (REAR brake first, not front!) that was a small price to pay. 

You may have looked at lithe bikers with the body fat percentage of turkey jerky and thought, "I'd love to bike, but that's for people who are already fit." 

It's an understandable sentiment. Exercise equipment, clothing, and messaging are all geared strongly toward people who are already fit, not those of us who are just starting that journey. 

That is why biking is the perfect exercise. No matter your fitness level, age, or personality, you can find a way to bike that will work for you. 

Get a Bike for YOU

Nowadays, there are almost as many types of bikes as there are riders. Your first stop should be a reputable cycling shop, with professionals who can assess your build, what kind of terrain you'll be riding on, your own preferences, and can set you up with the perfect bike for your needs. If balance is not your forte, a trike or a recumbent bike can be just the thing. Heading to the trails? Mountain bikes have the fat tires and strong suspension that you need. Keep in mind that if you're on the heavier side, it's a lot more comfortable to bike upright than to be bent over the handlebars with your wrists supporting your weight. European or "comfort" bikes offer cushiony, wide seats and an upright ride, for a more comfortable trip. 

Get Dressed for the Occasion

First of all, get a good bike helmet. You may think they look silly, but brain injuries are no laughing matter. From the neck down, it's more about comfort. Padded bike shorts help ease pressure and numbness, as do padded bike gloves. Plus, they make you feel like you're in the Tour de France. And online sources for plus-sized biking clothes abound, so have fun and browse!

Ease Into It

You don't need to bike 10 miles on your first day. Heck, you don't need to bike 10 minutes on your first day. Ease into it, enjoy the scenery, and only push yourself as much as you're comfortable with. Relish the breeze on your face (it's been a long time, hasn't it?) Starting out on a quiet back road or flat trail allows you to get a feel for cycling without having to fret about sharing the road with cars. 

Your inner 8-year-old is just itching to get on a bike and chase the wind. It's time to let that kid out to play. Happy cycling!

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