Back in July I started riding a bike to work. My intentions were twofold. First, skyrocketing gas prices were taking a toll on my finances. Second, I thought it would be a good way to get some exercise, and perhaps drop a few pounds.
Living in the greater Phoenix area, starting such an endeavor in late July proved interesting. The temperatures were typically over 90 degrees when I started my ride in the morning and had climbed to about 110 degrees by the time I decided to go home. I carried 50 oz of water both to and from work and drank most of it.
After about a month of riding I stopped getting dizzy as I rode and acclimated a bit to the challenge. My trip is a tad over 13 miles round trip each day and I ride Tuesday through Friday. On Monday, I drive all of my clothes into work for the week.
The first day after buying the bike I went on a short 2.5 mile ride. I hadn’t ridden a bicycle since my mission which was about two decades ago. Anyway, my bike has this really cool odometer/speedometer on it. On that first ride I averaged 10.5 mph and reached a top speed of 12.63 mph.
When I wrote about this on my blog I bravely suggested that someday I’d like to ride with an average speed of 14 mph. That seemed a bit unrealistic to me, but I wanted to set a high goal.
I now regularly average over 14 mph on my ride. Once I even maintained an average of 16.2 mph with a top speed of 22.92 mph. I now tend to pass the beginner riders on the road. They’re easy to spot because they look a lot like me. However, the hard core bikers, you know the ones with the bike shorts and shirts, and a bicycle that probably cost as much as my car, still pass me. It’s all good though as I simply enjoy the ride.
This afternoon the total miles ridden on my odometer said 634 miles. Curious to see how far that would be if I rode in one direction I went into Yahoo maps and started playing around.
If I road my bicycle from my home in Chandler and headed west I would hit Los Angeles and then head north. I’m currently about 20 miles past Fresno. The distance from Chandler, AZ to Las Vegas, NV is 317 miles, so I have ridden there and back. If I just head north, Provo is 634 miles from Chandler, so I just made it to my old Alma Mater.
With the savings in gas, the bike has pretty much paid for itself. Ironically, I haven’t really lost a lot of weight. However, there is muscle definition on my legs that I haven’t seen since the last time I was a student at BYU and played on their club Water Polo team.
Unfortunately, I think that I still look more like a water buoy, than the water boy I used to be. I tell friends and acquaintances (and now complete strangers in cyberspace) that I used to look like a greek god, but have since traded that body in for a more Asian deity…
Here’s the good news though. Before I started riding my bike I was on high blood pressure medicine. I was taking 60 mg of Lipitor a day to lower my cholesterol, and my sodium levels were high.
Now, my blood pressure without any meds is 120 over 68. My resting heart rate is 66 (better than average). My cholesterol meds have been decreased to 20 mg a day, and my sodium levels are normal. So I now have the Buddha body on the outside, but the sleeping athlete is starting to wake up on the inside.