Saturday, June 25, 2011

Lance-ing it up

As a follow-up to my last post, I've decided I like this whole triathlon idea. I'm going above the training schedule at this point, because I think I need less than the scheduled three months of training the Women's Health plan suggests, so I'm skipping ahead to month two of the plan, and incorporating some extra cross-training because I actually have time for such things- oh the beauty of summer! I feel like such a tough girls saying a training program is too easy for me, but I think my half marathon training has prepared me well for this new challenge.

However, the one aspect of triathlon training I was not prepared for was cycling. Yes, I can ride a bike sans training wheels, but in order to do this, one must have said bicycle. I have been taking spin classes for the last few weeks, and they're fun, challenging, and a change of pace from running, but I was still longing to ride on the open road, the pavement beneath me, a helmet on my head.

I began to research bikes, and what I found seems to be the most critical part of purchasing a bicycle is, well, having the money for one. Road bikes cost thousands of dollars! Also, it is critical that the bike be the correct size for the cyclist, otherwise injury is likely. To learn more, I stopped in a local shop, and got the run-down from a knowledgeable employee, who told me that while they sell an affordable bike for $680 (ha ha, seriously?), he would recommend I spend a 'few hundred' more dollars for a better bike. When I asked why, he told me the 'cheap' bike wouldn't work in a year or two. I left empty handed and disheartened, but determined, nonetheless.
I'm a pretty thrifty girl, and I would even call myself frugal, at times, so I certainly don't spend that kind of money without researching my options. So I began scouring the internet to determine my best options. Turns out, there are used bikes available through a variety of sources, but finding the right bike, one with the proper fit, made me nervous.

...Until I found the site of The Boys and Girls Club Bike Exchange. This awesome organization has a shop, located in Mercer County, just outside the city of Trenton. I took a drive there and found that they have a TON of used bikes that are refurbished by a team of dedicated volunteers. They're cyclists themselves, so they're knowledgeable in all things bicycle.

On my arrival, I was greeted by a friendly woman who helped me find the perfect bike for me, one that fit my body and my budget. My shiny 'new' Schwinn Traveler is red, and I learned after a little serial number research that it was manufactured in 1982...Three years before I was born!

I've had the bike out three times now, and may I say, it is AWESOME. Proof being that I keep going out despite the aches and pains that come with biking a lot after not biking for a long time.

I think that the moral of this post is that while I love running for a multitude of reasons, among them the fact that it's a great start-up activity because it's really cheap to get a pair of sneakers, I wish I'd broken my loyalty sooner and gotten road a bicycle and a helmet before now. I just didn't remember how much fun riding a bike is. If you haven't ridden in a while, give it a shot. You'll find that it comes back easily, because it's, well, like riding a bicycle.

Hope, Love, Run (Bike)
Marathon (Triathlon) Girl

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