On Sunday, July 17, I went on Le Tour De Norfolk staring and completing in Delhi, Ontario.
160KM riding in pure joy – at least most of it. Norfolk county is a nice part of Ontario for cycling if you like flat roads. There were a couple of crazy hills, but you can avoid them if you are not into climbing hills. Certain parts of the ride are extremely windy.
Norfolk County is mostly farmland with a few wind mills. I always wondered how farmers manage to water their crops, and that day I saw it for myself – they had these huge sprinklers.
Hydration and refueling your body with energy is essential; having a twizzler, or a banana, or an orange while doing 160KM feels like the best thing in the world. I usually find energy/granola bars etc… too sweet for my taste, but even one bite of it while riding long distances is a life saver.
I have been cycling for 2 months now and I must say it is one of the best habits that I have gotten myself into in many years. I have had my bike for more than 8 years, but I doubt that before now I had even ridden it for more than 8 hours. I started riding that old mountain bike first on a nearby multi-use paved trail, then on the road for short distances, then I pushed myself a little further and soon I realized I needed a road bike, so I went and bought myself a road bike. When came bike month, I had an extra bit of motivation to keep riding. I did the “Bike the Creek Event” in Brampton, organized my own event and overall cycling has had a manifold positive impact on my life.
There are some lessons that I have learned from Cycling.
If it is important to you, you will make it happen
If it is important to you, you will make it happen, if not, you will find excuses. I learned this lesson when I started to invite friends to bike with me. Of course, some had genuine reasons to not come. Some were too busy to come, some had not biked in many years, some didn’t own a bike and either didn’t want to spend the money to buy one or wanted to wait for the season to be over so that they could get it cheap at a clearance event and the list goes on. These are all valid reasons, yet I find these same people are not too busy to spend countless hours watching reruns of their favourite and not so favourite TV shows, cannot wait to make an expensive purchase of things which they probably don’t even need,..so on… and you get my point. I’m not judging them; my point is, if it is important to you you will make it happen.
On the other end of the spectrum, I have a friend, who didn’t have a bike, had not ridden one in more than a decade, has a bad knee, and yet somehow managed to come ride with me on a 40KM+ stretch with multiple hills with me. He asked me if I had a spare bike which I did, he went and bought himself a helmet, put a knee sleeve to protect his knee and showed up way earlier than his usual saturday morning wakeup time. Why? In his own words: being active is important to him.
So the next time you find yourself wanting to do something, but it is not something that you are actually doing, maybe it is just not that high in your priority list, and instead of beating yourself for not doing it, just figure out where your priorities lie and question whether they are justified?
If you do what you love, you’ll start loving what you do
Let’s face it; not everything that we do, we actually like doing let alone love doing it. Most people don’t LOVE their job, most might like it, but there are very few who actually love what they do. That is the reason people need vacations and they call it a ‘retreat’. Just google the words “meaning of retreat” and see what you get.
There might be things that you love doing, but you may not have been doing them because you have other ‘important’ things do do. If you just shifted your priorities a little and allocated some time and effort to do the things that you love, that joy and feeling of accomplishment will translate into a stress buster and sip into other areas of your life, whether it be your work, your health, your relationships, your spiritual life and more. When you make time to do what you love, you’ll end up loving what you do – I speak from personal experience! 🙂
If you push just a little more, you will go a lot further
If you push just a little more, you will go a lot further than your imagined. There have been times when my legs felt the burn, my back hurt, shoulders almost gave up, but in that moment I pushed a little more and then a little more and when I checked on my GPS, almost always I was greeted with an amazing and pleasant surprise. Sometimes I end up covering more distance than I had imagined and I usually get to something interesting.
Life is like that too. Most people give up and figuratively speaking get off their bikes or turn around and go back home to a place that’s comfortable at the sight of the slightest incline. Sometimes all it takes is a little push, a bit of hard work and we can accomplish things that you previously thought were impossible. You can apply this principle to sports and fitness, education, business and finance or any other endeavour that you can imagine.
Go the extra mile – it’s worth it!
To get something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done
I have seen and discovered more things about Brampton and the surrounding area in the past 4 weeks than I have in the past 4 years. I try to take different routes every time I go for a ride and every single time I’m greeted with new discoveries.
For the Bike The Creek event, I took my bike with me on the Brampton Transit bus which I had never done before. I used the presto card for the first time and I was amazed at how much better the bus ride has become over the past 7 or 8 years.
To get something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done – If you think about it, isn’t this true for life in general. Why is it that you have never had the kind of house, car, income, relationship, body, spirituality that you truly desire? If you keep doing what you have always been doing, you will get what you have always gotten. A great definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over gain and expecting a different result.
If you don’t want to fall, you gotta keep moving
Just recently I taught a friend in their 20s how to ride a bicycle. Most people learn how to ride a bicycle early on in their life, but it’s never too late to learn anything new. I noticed that this person was afraid to fall and so was trying to move slowly. I told them the key is to keep moving, if you stop or slow down you will fall, you have to keep pedalling if you want to stay up.
Then it hit me! Isn’t that a great lesson in life? You have to keep moving, whatever happens in life, good or bad, you have to keep moving forward. If something bad happens to you whether it is a heart break, divorce, someone dumps you, someone betrays your trust, you are faced with financial difficulty, you are having health issues, you got fired from work, you end up in an embarrassing situations, or whatever the case maybe, you have to move on with your life sooner or later. If you stop and keep thinking about the bad things that happened, you’ll fall deeper into depression, negativity, anger and it’ll be harder to get back up again.
Likewise if something good happens in life, a promotion, graduation, you achieve your health goal, get married, fall in love whatever the case may be, you still have to keep moving to the next step. If you stop and spend all your time wanting to stay in that same moment, life will pass by and you won’t even realize and you will fall. Celebrating your victories is an important part of life, but wanting to stay in that moment forever is merely wishful thinking.
What is the opposite of movement? Stagnation. Stagnation is death. Think about it. How do you know if someone is dead. You identify it by them not moving, their pupils won’t move or react to light variations, their heart won’t move – no heart beat, their brains seizes to function, blood doesn’t flow through the body.
I started riding my bike about a month ago and I can tell you the feeling is amazing. I started with walking, which was great and I still love it and I was meeting my 1000 point goals on my Misfit Flash(Check out my review of the Misfit Flash). But soon I realized that although walking was great at first and I was building up my stamina, I needed something faster. I was fond of running many years ago, but running just doesn’t feel like a lot of fun now.
My bike which I had not used in years was the best fit for what I wanted. I fixed it up a little, filled up air, adjusted the brakes and went for my first ride. Every day I pushed myself further and now I easily go 10K to 15K daily. I will improve this as the days go by and we’re still in spring.
There are many different kinds of bikes. If you are reading this section then chances are you are a just starting off with your biking adventure. Decide what kind of rider you are and how often you will be riding your bike. If you will mostly be using your bike to go to and from work then a hybrid/comfort bike might be the right ride for you. However, if your road to work involves jumping and riding over potholes than a and if you already have a mountain bike then you can simply use that. But please make sure you get it checked and tuned at your local bike shop.
If you are serious about riding your bike on the road, setting aside time with the soul purpose of riding, then you definitely need a road bike. There are many different kinds of road bikes and when it comes to price, the sky is the limit. Just check out this $20,000 limited edition Audi Sport Racing Bike. Audi claims the frame of the bike weight less than the iPhone 6 Plus… haa!… That’s crazy – the fact that it costs $20K and that it’s (frame) lighter than the iPhone 6 Plus.
I have to be honest here – I never wore a helmet until now. I used to think helmets were not “cool”, but in retrospect, I don’t know why I ever thought that. Helmets can be both for safety and style. For bikes there are 2 main types of helmets, mountain bike helmets and road helmets. There are also ‘hybrid’-ish type of helmets which lets you clip on and and clip off the visor – I bought this kind when I started off, but now after riding for a some time, I realize that a special road helmet is the best. Whichever type of helmet you get, make sure that it has a light at the back. This will come in handy if you ever decide to right at night or early morning.
Before you get out on the road, please check that both your front and back brakes are working. Make sure that there are no loose screws or nuts and bolts. Your seat needs to be adjusted properly to ensure that you have a comfortable and injury free ride. The biggest mistake that people make is having the seat too low. Both your feet should not be flat on the ground while you are sitting – if that happens you’re doing it wrong. Your leg needs to be extended almost fully so that you are efficiently driving power to the wheels. You should also consider the angle in which your saddle sits.
If you will be riding at high speeds wearing something comfortable. Don’t wear something that is too loose – it won’t be aerodynamic and will slow you down and potentially throw you off your course which can be dangerous. Don’t wear tight jeans, you need to have free moment in your legs. If you are riding at night, make sure you wear light reflecting outfit and turn on the light at the back of your helmet. I recommend wearing a light jacket to act as a wind breaker especially during the spring or autumn months. Of course you could buy special bike wear but if you are just starting, I wouldn’t recommend this. I personally don’t have any special bike clothing.
Check weather conditions before starting your ride. This spring has been crazy – I quickly learnt my lesson.
In Ontario, you are not supposed to ride your bike on the footpath. You could be fined if you do. It is also not safe to ride on the footpath. You could easily bump into people and it also becomes difficult for cars coming out of driveways to see you. It is also mandatory that you have a front light so that other vehicles on the road are aware that you are there.