A lot of people have asked me the question “How do you do it?” This, of course, is in reference to bicycle touring. How do you ride a bike for 50+ miles in one day? They assume I must be in great shape… I always laugh inside a little bit because my physical prowess is lacking due to arthritis. I understand the curiosity and the belief that it takes a lot of strength for someone to bicycle a long distance over an extended period of time. I’ll give everyone the best of my knowledge of how I am capable to bicycle across a country, or countries in this case.
Just like walking, bicycle touring takes the first step, then eventually you’re doing it. What is that first step? It’s not buying a bicycle or telling friends and family that your going to do it “one day”. The first step is just the same as if you’re in one of those anonymous groups, its realizing that you are going to do a bicycle tour. The moment when it clicks and everything else goes out the window with that sudden realization. That first step is the ability to already know that is going to happen. Otherwise, ideas are just idle talk until there is a solidification on the surface of your thoughts. That concrete idea then can be walked, bicycled, and built upon. When there is a solid foundation enough to plan, it’s best to build your dreams on it. I know I am going to bicycle around Europe for a couple of months, it’s concrete. It’s an idea worth the building of my dreams.
BOOM! First step is taken and it is in the direction of choice, so what comes next? Training, but first I want to throw some numbers at you. Bicycling at 10 mph I would consider a slow pace in the world of biking. 10 mph for 5 hours gets you 50 miles. That is pretty simple math and it can be even easier than that. What if 5 hours of biking is way to much? Simple, bike for 4 hours, or 3 hours, or 1 hour, or 30 minutes. 10 mph at 30 minutes gets you 5 miles farther than you were when you left. Each day back on the bicycle it becomes easier and you soon realize that you can go farther. So the next step is math? No.
That is a lot of boring numbers which I will use for this paragraph too. Those numbers prove that anyone can be a cyclist and bicycle however far they please. They make the second step a training, of sorts. Bicycling a long distance is so much more mental than it is physical. Getting back on the bicycle everyday is a lot harder than riding that bicycle everyday. Train your brain to be tenacious and be able to push yourself harder and harder. No journey is easy, and if it was, it was probably boring and far less rewarding than the hardest thing done in your life. Again, train your brain and you can do anything.
Alright, enough mumbo-Joey-jumbo. All that up there set aside, what am I actually doing to “train” for this bike trip? Well, I go the YMCA pretty close to everyday and juggle from 1-2 hours. Then I sit in a hot tub. Then I read, which is brain training. Usually I write as well, which is more brain training. I do my best to stay off my feet because my left hip and knee don’t like impact or moving around to much.
ALAS, I have started an actual regime of training today! I AM GOING TO SWIM A LOT! Instead of just juggling and hot tubing at the YMCA, I have just started swimming. That is right, hair pulled up, blue swim capped, goggley eyed, and wet are my days to come. This is training to get in better “shape” for bicycling. More over, its training my left hip and knee to get stronger, which I need. I think I will try and swim at least 4 days out of the week! Hopefully my hip and knee get stronger and less painful, then biking will be slightly easier.
As for other training… I’m not sure. I can say that Matt isn’t training, haha. We both know that in the beginning of the trip we will take it easy. So bike training starts the first day of the journey we are one bikes. As for now, I am just trying to get my arthritis in check and train my brain.
I realize this is long and probably boring. I am quite tired. If you have read this far, cheers. Share this if you think its worth it. Or share it to be nice and spread the word! I am working on a donations page and other such things, but that’ll be in the next blog! Cheers!
Smooches and Farts,