I was sweating my way through spin class last week, exploring the contours of my pain cave while building up a nice calorie deficit to offset the next day’s Christmas Eve fondue feast. Suddenly a chilling thought occurred to me: they’re coming. Hordes of bodies, clad in shiny new workout clothes, descending like zombies. You can’t stop the onslaught.
Every January, like clockwork, it happens: I have to get to spin class 30 minutes early just to get a bike. Parking spot in the club’s lot? Forget it. Lockers jammed, lines for the drinking fountain, people wandering like lost children in a mall.
And bless their hearts, they’ve made that New Year’s resolution. This is the year they’re going to get in shape, use that membership, be more disciplined. Do that thing they don’t enjoy but know they should do: work out.
And, boy, does it make me glad to be a cyclist. Because my favorite biking moment is pretty much every time I get on one.
I look at the new people in the gym in January (most of ‘em have cleared out by February), trudging resolutely through their new routine. And I reflect on my approach to “working out”: If I wake up in the winter and it’s sunny, the first thing that comes to mind is, “Can I sneak in a ride today?”
My point is that – and I’ll guess that we feel the same about this – riding a bike isn’t really working out for me. It’s fun. It’s… riding a bike! Sure, I like to go fast, and push myself, and yes, maybe pass a few younger guys on the big climb. But the key is that I get to just go out and ride my bike, regularly, through some beautiful places, which I enjoy tremendously. And, oh yeah, get a good workout.
OK, so riding bikes isn’t exactly a complete and balanced workout. Like many of us, I have arms like a praying mantis, and I’m living a pirate’s dream – I have a sunken chest. And I’m aware of the dangers of osteoporosis, so I do other activities I enjoy that actually use the upper half of my body and jar my skeleton a bit. But I stay in pretty killer shape compared to most people, and I eat almost all the things I like.
Because I love my workout – I mean, riding my bike.
So I’ll leave you with this thought as we approach January 1: Sure, you can set some goals – mileage, feet climbed, maybe ride a great week-long tour(!) – but here’s a good idea for a New Year’s resolution: Every time you get on a bike, remember how much you love it. (Even when you lose a bet and have to wear a tiara…)