This time of year, we all have good excuses for not exercising...it's cold, it's dark, I'm busy, the kids need a babysitter; it's too much work, it's too hard, the house is too messy, and there is no room inside to exercise, blah, blah, blah. Well, I remembered something I did a long time ago that worked for me, and I've gone and done it again, and it works this time, too (because all those excuses are true for me, too). I got a bike. I got a "trainer" (not a personal one--keep reading), and I put it on my front porch so I can go for a ride outside in the fresh air any time of day or night and not worry about cars, hills, babysitters, or even getting anywhere. It's awesome.
So, this is how it works. And if you need help getting it set up, find a local bike shop and they will make it work for you. Mine is South Mountain Cycles in Emmaus, and they totally rock! (Best organic coffee in Emmaus, too!)
Get a bike. Any bike. Then get a trainer, which is basically a device that lifts your rear wheel off the ground so that you can ride in place--it pops the bike in and out, no tools required! Get it set up to your pleasure. You can do this inside your house, but I so much prefer to exercise in the fresh air, and my front porch is big enough. That way, I can ride while the kids play in the front yard or in the driveway. And if they want to, they can be a part of my exercise (although this time of year, unless there is snow out there, it's unlikely).
Now, because my trainer is on my front porch, I had to get a real pretty bike. So I chose an Electra Amsterdam, which makes me feel very European. It also positions me upright, which doesn't put any pressure on my hands, which have suffered in the past from carpal tunnel syndrome. And of course I needed a really nice basket to put my iPod in so I can listen to music while I ride (which I would never, ever, ever, do if I were really riding on the street or trail, mind you!). My setup is so cool that my son-in-law asked for a trainer for Christmas so he could set his bike up in his apartment in New York to train for some race or other he is doing this summer. So it works in all sorts of scenarios.
What's great about this is you can set it up anywhere, and you don't need a whole exercise bike that can't be used for anything else. When you want to ride the bike, just pop it off and go! And, for me, I love that I can get out in the fresh air and ride, even in the pitch dark--even in the rain, because it's under the porch.
See? No excuses!
Biketown Africa: Transforming Rwanda - Maria's Farm Country Kitchen
Two Confirmed Benefits of Biking: Fewer Sick Days, Less Belly Fat - Rodale.com
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com.