I bike for a number of reasons. One reason is to get exercise. Biking is an amazing form of physical activity, because it builds strength in your legs. On the off seasons of basketball and even during the season, I bike to keep my body strong and ready for the next game. So whether you bike a long or short distance, it's important to bike often to stay toned and strong. #FitFamily
2. Get speed!
A second reason to bike is to get to places you need to go faster! I live in a community where almost everything is in walking distance. The grocery store, toy store, chocolate shop, school, park, bank, restaurants, and the list goes on and on. If you are in a hurry, (like my family always is) and you think you are going to be late, (again: my family) then chances are you could bike there and cut your transportation time in half! I find this convenient, exciting, and healthy! And nothing compares to the thrill of racing down a hill.
3. Get social!
My family bikes together so we can spend time with each other. We usually bike for a few miles enjoying each other's company and competing with each other for the front biker in line, continuously hearing someone say, "On your left!" with a devious look on their face. Somehow the first biker always seems to be my dad and my youngest sister Sarah on a tandem bike. About half way through our bike ride we stop and take a break. (My FAVORITE part!) Tired and out of breath, it's the perfect time to have a snack. This usually consists of cliff bars, trail mix, and water. I go straight for the water and pick the chocolate out of the trail mix. Not really gaining the nutritional benefit... :) While we eat we sit down and talk which can be super fun as long as you didn't leave your bike too close to the road, then you're expecting a lecture from the father. The majority of the time we talk about anything and everything! I usually just empty myself of all feelings good or bad. We laugh and make jokes which makes us a closer family. You can have that bonding time with anyone if you take a bike ride with them. Especially if you are biking across the country. :D
4. Get to have fun!
Having fun is something you really can't avoid when biking. There is always something for everyone. The journey? The friends? Or what you get to experience? I don't remember a single bike ride where our break during the ride wasn't somewhere beautiful. Just recently we stopped over looking the majestic Beaver Lake. Fish poked their heads out of the water causing ripples. However that was a mistake because the moment one of them was spotted multiple birds came swooping down to try and catch them. Enjoying nature at its best, the action between the animals. This is a great way to get out of the house and experience an awesome biking adventure.
5. Get brave!
Biking can be a fantastic time but not if you don't consider safety first. Biking is dangerous. There is no way to get around that, but there is a way to protect yourself from the possible situations. There will be plenty of challenges and scary encounters. For example when biking in Locust Valley I usually bike on the road. And where there's a road there are cars. So you need be careful and stick close to the white line but not too close to the edge of the road, because that's where glass and debris pile up. My Dad's cycling coach, the infamous Bicycle Bill calls this lane the garbage lane. You also need to beware when you ride on bike trails especially if they're shared with other activities like running, roller skating, and leisurely strolls. Then you need to make sure you do not crash into anybody and let them know when you are passing. When riding on bike trails that go into mountains or forests keep your picnic basket at home because wildlife might be passing by and want a snack.
About three years ago I went biking with my family at Yosemite National Park in the central eastern portion of California. It was my dad in the front pulling Sarah in the biking trailer, myself behind him, and my uncle behind me biking up this obnoxiously long hill. The rest of my family was staggering behind not within sight. As we slowly began to reach the top of the hill a black bear came lunging out of one side of the forest. I couldn't see it but I knew my dad saw something because he immediately slammed on the breaks causing me to also try and stop but I did hit his tires a little. My uncle behind me also came to a sudden stop and by that time the bear was gone. I was still confused about what had happened until my dad explained to me in like... three words.
"A...-" he inhaled, "A..-" he made the most frightened face I've ever seen him make, "Bear!"
I turned around and gave my uncle the look that said, "NO WAY!" and he nodded confidently so I believed them. Now the rest of the family started turning the corner and saw that we stopped. They sped up to see if everything's ok and when they ask, my dad and uncle barely had any words to say. But they did say we should keep moving in case there were more. That day I learned to be brave even if I didn't know what was happening at the moment. Getting brave is an inevitable when biking. Each time you face a challenge while cycling- a speeding car passing by, a fallen tree in the road, or a racing black bear crossing your path- you will find your brave. And courage goes with you long after the ride is over.
So the next time you're planning that usual trip to the mall or an all afternoon monopoly war with your family consider dusting off your two wheelers or renting some bikes. Take a ride and see what happens.