This is going to be a primarily text post because I am not into taking pictures of myself in the mirror for everyone’s amusement, apologies ladies. I have had the good fortune to make a friend of a person who has inspired me to make a change in my own weekly routine (take that how you will). You see, normal for yours truly generally involves go home maybe do some light exercise and then shower and play games and/or read with dinner punctuating that. Weekends are filled with more games and possibly riding of the motorcycle all of which requires next to the square root of zip calories burnt… not good.
Sometimes it is all you need, this catalyst to make a change and modify the mindset of oneself for the better and maybe get a hernia while trying some new exercise. So 5 or more years of dust has been wiped off the saddles and the bikes have been recommissioned for use again with some mods because why not update them a bit?
I like modification, it’s my way of expressing my own style on a personal belonging. In my younger days I was an avid bicyclist as it was the only thing I owned with wheels (in full scale). I went nearly everywhere with it whether it was racing down Church St weaving in between traffic or burning lungs on steep climbs around my home in the Hills district I love(d) it. All the more sad to peek down in the cellar and see that bike (2005 Kona Cinder Cone) plus a practically new 2005 Norco Fluid 1.0 just sitting there doing nothing. To combat that as recently the Kona became my brother’s I bought some parts to make my only bike the Norco truly mine:
Handlebars: Truvativ Blackbox Danny Hart bar in gold
Stem: Renthal Duo 50mm
Grips: ODI AG-1 Aaron Gwin lock on in blue
So now it has a modern cockpit with grips that look like the metallic blue body but I had no helmet or cool gear to look like I know how to ride this thing. That’s OK because of these:
Helmet: 2015 Met Parachute helmet in red large
Gloves: 661 Comp glove medium
Goggles: Oakley Proven MX OTG (because I am blind w/o glasses though I just wanted these goggles)
OK Shaun you have this pretty old yet fancy bike with some fancy bits and fancy gear in bright colours with honestly excellent credentials except you are still you and not some superfly expert, this is true. I do like to go overboard to make myself not bored of the game which is why this is a post about getting on the fitness train and not the ride.
Recently this reinvigoration of the desire to get arse-pains while aboard what is essentially a leather covered beam in the name of fitness has made me change my routine. No longer is the afternoon wiled away playing games, instead it is spent outside on the bike riding around the neighbourhood to get cardio going. I absolutely recommend finding hills where you live so you can do some climbing. Riding along a dead flat bit of tarmac isn’t helping you much at all unless you are planning on taking it easy and want to go incredible distances for similar gain to someone who rides hills for 1/2 an hour to an hour. Getting out of the seat as well also gives your upper body and chance to get in on the usual leg action too.
On the subject of getting out of the seat I found that after I changed my handlebars from the older early 2000’s style 650mm wide bars to the much more modern 780mm wide bars I attained more stability when climbing or just in general standing on the pedals. The width is also very much the same as my motorbike which is a coincidence however a welcome one. It’s like imagining getting out of a pool but only allowing yourself shoulder width or 1.5 shoulder width to maneuver.
With the helmet choice I was in two minds, on the one hand I despised the full face helmet as it would be like putting an oven on my head on the other was the additional protection it provided me so as luck and progression in compressed foam combined with monocoque construction techniques would have it there was the Met Parachute. The old Met Parachute was meant to be the new frontier in full face protection minus a lot of the material to make an airy yet completely enveloping design. Problem was it used to have a removable chin-bar which wasn’t very strong and didn’t carry certification above the usual open face helmets so really it didn’t advance the full face downhill nutter helmet type much. It also looked like this:
Borrowed from Met’s Bluegrass company and specifically in this case their Golden Eyes helmet, Met set about adding a permanent chin-bar to create a full face helmet with some added airiness. Riding with the helmet on in 32 degrees celsius weather (89 F) was not a problem I did sweat (who doesn’t when they ride) but I could feel plenty of the breeze on my face and I never had rebreathing issues of my own breath so all in all it is as close as you can get to open face with protection for your chompers. It also looks pretty cool:
Getting into cycling can be a daunting thing, there are many choices of bike to choose from and for multiple types of riding styles to suit everyone. Go into the bike buying market reading a lot of reviews but also find yourself a bike shop you can trust, talk to the bike guy or gal and they will be able to find the right one for you. If you are like me you can’t throw a spanner to save your life so knowing people who know bikes and how to fix them is a must. In general I recommend dual sport or mountain bikes as they run at a minimum some front suspension and most likely they also have quick release wheels and seatposts (very important for transport especially if you don’t have a bike rack or just don’t want one). These bikes are also designed to do off roading so they are generally built tougher however do stick to reputable brands as the supermarket types also carry stickers like “Not designed for off road use” or a variation of that whereas reputable frames say nothing of the sort or should say “designed to do everything you expect of a mountain bike and will definitely exceed your abilities”.
Also if you don’t like dirt you can most certainly just swap the tyres out for some urban semi slicks and roll around like all those fancy street bikes except with some off roading flair and bag loads of credibility.
Get out there, make friends, ride a bike and do it for yourself because it’s summer time here in Australia and it’s the best time to jump on the fitness train.