Weekend Biker: Back in the Saddle

Love is…

Getting up at an ungodly hour on the weekend to go biking with your partner even though you would much rather negotiate with the sandman for a dream instead.

The hubs finally convinced me to go biking one Sunday morning when the roads in the city were closed for KL Car Free Morning.

My very brief riding career ended after the Malakoff Duathlon back in 2006 – I haven’t been back on a bike since. It seems like every time I go biking, I always return home unable to sit down without a significant level of discomfort. Having learned to ride a bike on a BMX, I don’t think I ever really got used to the idea of being so high off the ground. I normally like to ride with the seat in the lowest position possible so I can put my feet on the ground while still on the saddle but the correct seat height should be when your leg is almost in full extension when the pedal is at its lowest point – that usually means that you have to get off the saddle when you want to stop.

So you can bet that I wasn’t feeling very confident when I went biking with the hubs. It figures because I stacked it in the car park before I even got onto my bike – another reason not to go biking ever again.

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But… I did managed to clock in something like 9.5km and I wasn’t in too much pain the next day so maybe we’ll go again? Or maybe I’ll just stick to the scooter and the waterrower?

Although… there are some really great benefits for biking that are hard to resist:

  • It burns a lot of calories. A 60kg woman pedaling 20-22 km/h can burn as much as 488 calories in 60 minutes. Now you can have your cake and eat it too – well, a slice of it anyway.
  • You can do it on the go – bike to work, to the corner store, at the park with the kids…
  • It tones your whole body and works all your muscles – especially if your route includes hills.
  • It energises you because it triggers the release of dopamine – a chemical messenger in the brain responsible for elevating mood and other things. I think a qualifier is required, though – they say that pedaling at a low to moderate pace works best. I would also add that biking too hard has the opposite effect. If you’re feeling tired after your exercise, chances are you’ve pushed too hard. Also, many other forms of exercise can elevate those dopamine levels so you don’t necessarily have to go biking to feel energised.
  • It’s easy on the joints – especially if your bike is fitted properly – unlike walking or running which puts stress on your knees, ankles and spine.
  • It’s good for the heart – especially if you ride at a moderate to high intensity 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes. Again, I think same goes for a number of other forms of exercise.
  • It’s a good exercise to start on if you’re overweight because it’s easier on your joints.
  • Daily biking is a great way to fight that middle-age spread that hits the waistline.
  • Biking outdoors is a greater workout than using a stationary bike because of changes in the terrain and wind resistance.

Hmmm… maybe I’ll try it again. Maybe. If only to get a little more tone in these legs and to curb this expanding waistline…

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