I wrote a few weeks ago about how I am essentially learning how to ride a bike. Not in the mechanical, put your foot on the pedal and the wheels move!-type of way, but in regards to things like the laws of riding on the road, using the gears, making sure my hands don’t fall asleep, etc. I am a total novice. And now that I am many weeks into this new endeavor, I’ve got a few additions to my list of “things I’ve learned.”
1. The gears are there for a reason. I recently came home from a rather uphill ride (see item 3, below; this is literally the only kind of ride I take) on a hot day and was talking to my husband about how hard it was. And in this conversation, I revealed that I actually never move the shifter on my left handlebar. Ever. It’s always on “2.” I thought I was doing fine in the range from 2-1 and 2-7, but when he suggested (strongly) that I consider moving it to “1” on hills, I’m pretty sure my life changed.
2. Paved bike paths in a park are the loveliest thing ever. I am riding my bike right now not to train for some type of race, but to get my body moving again and to slowly regain fitness after a long period of forced rest due to a back/foot/leg injury. I am actually not seeking out challenging bike routes at all – just trying to get 30-60 minutes of aerobic activity gradually back into my life. Which is why the day I rode to the park and experienced a few miles of flat bliss I realized THAT is what I and my atrophied leg and compressed nerve need. I expect to also receive a thank-you note from my quad and glute muscles in the near future. Because…
3. I APPARENTLY LIVE ON TOP OF A MOUNTAIN. My neighborhood is a constant flow of long, gradual inclines. I’ve certainly noticed this when walking or running, but on a bike it is incredibly more evident. I have now headed out of my driveway in every direction possible, and while I can eventually get to more level ground, the road home is always, always uphill. I suspected this, but I now have a poorly-composed collage of Runkeeper screenshots to prove it:
I feel like my life should have been somehow more glamorous, living all this time in a mountain estate.
4. I should not bolus any insulin before a bike ride.
Your results may vary, but I am learning (the hard way, occasionally) that there is no need whatsoever to correct for a higher-than-desired blood sugar prior to riding my bike. Not even partway, not even if I wake up at 200. Not even if I eat a graham cracker. Whether this is just my body acclimating to a new(er) form of exercise, or if it turns out I can ride a bike instead of take insulin remains to be seen. But I made this resolution to myself when I took a quick jaunt before meeting a friend for breakfast the other day:
Couldn’t even text properly!
Are there other tips that I should know?