I’m a planner. An organizer. A person who thinks ahead and wants to be prepared. These characteristics manifest themselves in most aspects of my life, but just one is relevant to today’s story: generally, when I leave the house to take a bike ride, I have a route in mind.
On Saturday morning, I mixed that up. I turned right instead of left and made decisions on the fly about what road I’d take next. I had errands to run later in the day and things to do, so I only intended to go ten miles or so, just enough to get some good exercise. But the day was one of the most beautiful we’ve had all spring: temperatures creeping toward 70 degrees by 10:00 a.m., a breeze not strong enough to make cycling difficult in any direction, and not a cloud in the sky. I soon found myself in no hurry to get back home.
Cycling has become one of my favorite warm-weather activities. Short rides, long rides, and purpose-filled rides alike each have a place in my routine. After growing up surrounded by cornfields and miles from the nearest potential destination, I relish the feeling of donning a lightweight backpack and riding to the library on a Saturday morning. Getting some exercise, visiting one of my favorite places in the world, and transporting myself via a self-powered, environmentally friendly bike turns this simple outing into a joyful multi-tasking expedition.
The only multi-tasking I did on this particular Saturday ride was exercise + vitamin D absorption.
I meandered through town, rode a newly opened stretch of paved trail, made a surprise pit-stop at my dad’s house, and eventually upon returning home realized I had ridden more than 16 miles and had been out for more than 90 minutes.
Not having a plan for the ride let me relax into it more than I might have otherwise. I didn’t have a specific mileage target in mind, so I was free to start heading toward home any time I felt like it. Or I could just keep going. I felt more at liberty to just enjoy the ride and the scenery when I wasn’t tracking my progress against the map in my head and thinking ahead to my next correct turn.
I’m not going to stop making plans when I head out on a ride. (For longer rides, in particular, I could find myself unprepared with not enough water, for starters.) But on this particular day, just riding to enjoy the spring day was exactly what I needed.
- Did something outside my routine: +1
- Left the house: +1
- Activity benefits my health/wellbeing: +1
- Burned real calories (so I got some exercise): +1