Bicycling: Exercise, Low Impact and Fun!

My husband Dave and I were looking for something new to add to our fitness regimen, something that didn’t require a trip anywhere, something low-budget and, most importantly, something we could do together. Walking or jogging seemed like good choices, but Dave’s knees don’t like pounding the pavement and walking was something we already did.

Dave suggested biking. It was different than walking, low impact and not expensive to start. We could do it in our neighborhood, too since we lived in a relatively low-traffic area with nice, suburban streets. It sounded great!

Choosing a Bike

The only bicycles we owned were the kid’s toy-like bikes and the stationary bike in the home gym. Time to go shopping!

The first thing we had to do was to choose what kind of bike we wanted. One popular type is a road bike, which I think of as the traditional “ten-speed” bikes of my youth. Today’s road bikes have more than ten speeds, but the essence of the bike is the same: lightweight, skinny tires and meant to be ridden fast on pavement.

Mountain bikes are built for rugged terrain, something like an off-road vehicle, only in a bike shape. They are meant for trails or rougher landscape, with a solid frame and an upright riding position.

Hybrid bikes are a mix of the two: they are generally designed with a durable frame and an upright riding position, but have skinner, less knobby tires so that they are faster and more comfortable on pavement.

Best of Both Worlds

We decided on the hybrid bike. We didn’t need a bike that could go up and down a mountain, but we liked a heavier frame and a more comfortable, non-hunched riding position.

We also knew we didn’t want really expensive bikes. We didn’t feel the need for titanium alloy super light-weight frames or a myriad of gears and other functions that we knew we wouldn’t be taking advantage of. We wouldn’t be racing and we wouldn’t be pedaling through a forest, nor did we anticipate having to carry the bikes a lot.

necessary extras like:

  • Bike locks
  • Tire repair kit/pump
  • Water bottle clip
  • Good quality bike helmets (a must!)
  • Biking gloves to cushion our palms against the handlebars
  • Comfortable riding pants and shorts
  • Gel-pads for the seats to make them extra comfortable
  • A bike carrier that can be easily taken on and off the car

Ready to be a Kid Again – Almost!

Toting our new bikes home, Dave and I felt a lot like kids find shiny new bikes under the Christmas tree. We couldn’t wait to try them out, though we were careful not to overdo it the first few times out. Anyone who has pedaled a lot after not biking in a long time can testify that biking yourself sore is a real pain in the just-where-you-think-it is.

We love biking around the neighborhood. It’s a relaxing and scenic way to get exercise, to spend time together and to get some fresh air. Outside of the initial purchase, it didn’t even cost that much and some smart shopping made sure we didn’t overspend on what we did have to buy either!