“I think about what cycling has meant to me throughout my life and I cannot express how grateful I am. When I was a lost teen looking to find my way into adulthood I had my bicycle to help find my course. As an adult I’ve had the solace of cycling and the connection that cycling has with my past to help keep me on course while allowing me to remember where I came from and how far I’ve come.”
Jon Patrick Hyde on his lifelong love affair with cycling
I didn’t have the happiest childhood. Not that it really matters because I truly believe that if you are going to live your life to your fullest potential you cannot allow the past to dictate your present or cloud your future. My childhood happened and I am who I am because of the choices that I’ve made as an adult. That being said it is always special when in a difficult situation or period of time you can connect with something that gives you hope and makes your situation much more tolerable. For me this was cycling. I could escape the difficulties and hurtful machinations of my home life and find peace, happiness, and safety on the road as I was able to press the boundaries that defined my world by pedaling a little farther on my bicycle.
Because of my discovery of cycling during a very difficult time in my childhood I’ve always been attracted to it like a beacon that brings you home safely in the dark. When I eventually freed myself of the bonds of my childhood and was able to explore the world as an adult I found that it was comforting and familiar in a very satisfying way to find a few minutes in each day to jump on a bicycle and feel the wind and sun on my skin as I rode off to embrace a state of inner tranquility.
Habits that form early in life are the ones that are often hardest to break. In my life I can say that I cannot express the depth of my gratitude that I was given the opportunity to embrace such an amazing and wonderful habit; I simply love riding bicycles. When I was laying in CCU pondering just how I could have had a heart attack and nearly died (when I’d spent an hour on my bike the day before, and the day before that…) it struck me as ironic that the activity that I feel saved my life as a teenager once again saved my life as an adult.
When I say that cycling saved my life as a teen I mean that it gave me a positive outlet to focus my energy. I had a lot of anger and I was very unhappy with my home life; I could have easily gone down much darker paths in life. But my bicycle and the open road was always there calling to me in a positive way and I found that pull irresistible.
Since that time I’ve found that cycling has become a centerpiece to my lifestyle. I plan activities around when I can get a short (or long) ride in. I sometimes ride 4 or 5 hours in a single day (typically my longer weekend rides). During the week I get a minimum of 1 hour in each day. I ride 7 days a week and average between 35-45 miles a day. That’s some 15,000 to 17,000 calories per week. And an average of 900 to 1100 minutes of intense cardio workout time. The WHO (World Health Organization) and the AHA (American Heart Association) recommend a minimum of 75 minutes of intense cardio workout minutes per week to reduce your risk of CAD.
THE CYCLING LIFE
The Cycling Life is what I call the lifestyle I’ve adopted and that I chose to live. I make vacation choices based on if there are good cycling paths or courses at my destination. A relaxing day for me includes a 2-3 hour bicycle ride. And my diet has slowly changed into a mechanism for building my body so that I can become a better cyclist. I eat foods that help me with energy output and endurance. I see food as fuel now. I still enjoy food but I don’t waste time with food that doesn’t help me with my cycling goals; regardless of how good it may taste.
The Cycling Life is about taking charge of your health and being a little selfish (selfish in a healthy way). It’s OK to say that you need a little “you” time and that you enjoy the solitude of riding a long bike path by yourself. Or you can choose to commute to various places on a bicycle. I regularly visit the Post Office on my bicycle. There’s a bike path that runs right behind my local Post Office. It makes it very convenient.
The Cycling Life is about feeling good; feeling healthy and having excess energy with which to attack each day and live it to the fullest. With regular exercise comes more energy and better sleep and a stronger immune system. The positive health benefits go on and on… You get an increased quality of life while greatly decreasing your risk for a number of life changing illnesses.
Are you sold yet? No worries if you are still trying to make up your mind… How about I give you some more useful information regarding my favorite fitness activity?