Like I wrote the other day, in 2011 I learned a lot of new things. After prodding from friends I decided to buy a bicycle this year and start commuting to work. It was a new thing for me and after looking back on my year I am quite happy with my decision to ride a bicycle more.
At the beginning of 2011 we talked a lot on the blog about brick workouts. For those of you who don’t know what one is here is the quick description. You take a spin class then go straight to the treadmill for a run workout; do this and you’ve completed a brick workout. It is a staple of triathlon training as it helps prepare them for the transition from one discipline to another. For runners, it is a great workout to add once a week during the winter months to build strength and to keep yourself sane and not “Office-Spacing” your treadmill. I added bricks in 2011 during the first three months and felt that the combination of spin with a run really prepared my legs and core for a long running season.
As I moved into March I made the decision to buy my first bicycle since I was a teen. After I moved closer to the Hudson River Park it became obvious that the quickest way for me to get to the office, which is also along the West Side Highway, was to bike it to work. So, I traded my monthly metro card for a new hybrid Giant Rapid and have not looked back since.
Not only was I getting a round-trip 30 min ride in each day but I was also saving an ass load of money on commuting expenses. I had been spending $104 a month on an unlimited metro card, since I bought my bicycle I’ve saved $936 which more than covered the expense of the Giant Rapid. What once took me 45 minutes now only takes me 15 minutes.
Commuting on my bicycle in 2011 also helped with keeping my legs fresh and loose. I find that riding a bike is a great way to keep muscles working properly while also providing a healthy and natural stretch. Even though it is a commute ride I try to push myself, maximizing the time that I am on the bike. I’ve definitely felt benefits in my thighs, glutes and hamstrings; they feel stronger and also look stronger.
Riding a bicycle has changed my outlook on New York City as well. I had been coming to a conclusion that living in New York City was inconvenient and I was sick of taking cabs and subways everywhere. Now with my bike I feel like the city is mine to explore again with insane conveniences to go where I want when I want for free. What I did need to learn quickly is that there is a battle between the pedestrians, vehicles and bikers. With so many of each there is bound to be friction and being cautious is an understatement when riding the streets- it is scary sometimes and dangerous.
With all that being said my addition of cycling in 2011 was one of the best decisions I made. It has helped my running and me achieve goals. It is a super convenience that has brought a love back to living in New York City. It definitely was a great investment.
Have you incorporated brick workouts into your schedule? Do you have a bicycle? Do you cycle to help keep fresh and strong fro running?