Riding is Fun and Good for Conditioning
Yesterday I went for a serious bike ride and it was good. I jumped on my mountain bike with my buddy Kevin and we hit the trails. After all, bike riding is a great cardio and I am in constant need of exercise. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the best mountain bike in the world – it’s a $200 Walmart special – but it works for me!
The Great Ride
Now, I am not a hardcore mountain biker by any means. In fact, I haven’t been riding at all lately and quite frankly I am out of shape when it comes to my bike. One might say I’m a novice bike rider but sometimes I just like to get out there and act like a warrior.
I sort of knew what I was in store for but refused to admit it, gazing at my bike with a somewhat incredulous stare. The bike held my stare, as it so often does, with its cold, hard, metallic callousness.
Fortunately, the majority of my workout for this ride came within the first 30 minutes when we had to ride up a 1/2 of a mile worth of hills. There were no flat areas or down slopes. The judicious usage of down-shifting would be crucial.
The top half of the last hill was finished in the lowest gear possible, sometimes standing, sometimes sitting, gasping for breath to fuel my lactic-acid-filled quads, and it was good. It was like a sprint, my effort level just about maxed out, but at the same time, it was like an endurance workout as the up-hill battle took about 10 solid minutes.
To either side of the hill were trees, grassy fields, bushes, and one singular house. All of these inanimate objects seemed to share the heartless attitude of my bike. Silently mocking me as I gasped and wheezed, as I vowed to keep peddling and to avoid the temptation to stop and rub out my quads.
Sweat dripped down my forehead and onto my sunglasses. I felt perspiration accumulating under my shirt, dripping down my back. Exercise is good.
Finally, I made it to the top. The ordeal was over. I could stop peddling, stop moving completely. I could just lie down on the grass and let the pain subside. But I did not. I was victorious over the road in a battle of wills. My pride was too great to give in to the pain.
With my victory over the hill complete, I dared the road to bring its next challenge, but it was unable to muster another equally demanding vehicle of pain. We continued up some small hills, over some potholes, and eventually made it to the trails without so much as a heavy breath.
Sure, some of the trail riding was difficult. We went through rivers, up slabs of rock, down a hill filled with prickers, and at times the gravel was loose enough to make travel difficult. Still, nothing came close to the challenge of that first hill.
Get in Great Shape by Riding
All I know is that if I rode up and down this one hill twice every single day, I would be in great shape within a month. Of course, my conditioning using this method would plateau pretty quickly, but it would definitely give a kick-start to a new realm of conditioning that I just can’t get from interval sprints.
If you are looking to increase your conditioning or to get started on a new training program, consider adding bike riding to your routine. Two or three extra rides each week for an hour or two will do great things for your legs and for conditioning.
Try any of the following workouts:
- flat bike sprints – sprint for 30 seconds, peddle slowly for 2 minutes, repeat for 20 minutes.
- uphill bike sprints – (small hills) sprint to the top, coast down, repeat for 20 minutes
- uphill endurance riding – (big hills) keep on peddling through the pain. It should be a long moderately steep hill that should take at least 5 minutes to get to the top. When you reach the top you can rest for as long as it takes to coast back down to the body. Repeat for at least 30 minutes.
- mountain biking – takes extra upper body strength to ride over hills, rocks, trees, streams, and more. Watch out for bobcats.
- road cycling – go out and ride your bike for a couple of hours. It’s fun.
- riding with a weighted vest – wear the vest on any of the above riding workouts to make it more difficult
If you want to plan out a ride, you can check out Map My Ride. It has a ton of details for planing out a road ride or mountain biking excursion.
Get away from the gym and go for a ride before it gets too cold. It will be good.