Thursday, December 11, 2014

How to stay in shape: Cycling to the Groceries store, work and to a party

Wouldn't it be great if a change in routine would be able to make you :
- experience the upsides of a healthy condition
- save time on your work-out schedule
- spend a considerable amount of time outdoors (every day)
- leave the car at home more often (lower mileage & less gasoline)

Cycling to work

It sounds like an obvious thing to say, but cycling to work is the easiest way to get in shape and I have no idea why some people aren't trying it. If you'd normally drive 15 km (one-way), then you could leave half an hour earlier, assuming that the route would take you 15 minutes by car and 45 minutes by bike. On a normal working day, you would spend 1 hour of your leisure time on exercise. An hour per day spend on exercise would be a very healthy habit for the overweight, office clerks, (taxi/truck/forklift) drivers, and so on. It's just a small adjustment but it could change a lot over time.

Now some of you may dismiss this very idea, thinking it cannot be applied to your lives. Well, that is just a lazy excuse. Conveniently rejecting the idea of cycling to work on the basis of distance, time or physical shape is just an excuse for the fact that it takes effort which you aren't willing to take with your currect state of mind.

Distance is an often used excuse for people. Let's say you'd have to travel 40 km to work. Traveling solely per bike isn't an option, so why not combine taking your car and your bike? Pick a spot on your way to work where you can park your car. Just pick a secure spot with preferably a few bicycle stands. If possible, use bike stands with a roof on top, so your bike stays dry. Now you can drive to your bike, that stays there the whole week (so buy a decent lock!), and cycle to work daily. Who knows, you might get other colleagues to follow your example.

Another excuse to not cycle to work is time. "In the morning, I don't even have time to have breakfast and drink coffee" is one of the well known excuses. First of all, if you pedal to work on a daily basis, you do not need coffee. It's very different from sitting in a heated cabin on your way to work, whilst moving your foot slightly up and down and shifting gears to change the speed of the vehicle. Second of all, if you'd get up earlier and make a habit out of that, picking up a bike shouldn't be that hard either. A lot of people, if not most people, have trouble getting up. It doesn't mean that you couldn't change that if you'd try to get up earlier. However, as time could actually be a valid excuse sometimes, there are other ways to stay fit on other occasions besides going to work.

Physical shape - by which I mean being fat - is never a reason to not cycle. It is the exact opposite of that excuse, namely that a bad physical shape (being really fat) is the reason to cycle.

Groceries and weekend

Everywhere I have lived up until now there was a certain type of person who just doesn't bother to not use a car. I have lived in small towns as well as big cities in 4 different countries. I would estimate that the distance to a baker or butcher would have been 2 km max. A distance like that is peanuts when cycling, yet there were people who are too lazy or too 'busy' to overcome this distance using means of transportation other than a car, subway, tram, bus or taxi. Especially in cities, I really did not understand their motives. You are faster per bike than by metro in most cases.

The point that I'm making is that cycling to the super market or to weekend activities (party, hobby, etc) is a good way to stay active and healthy. Here are also some of the general excuses from people who take their car in stead of their bike: 1. groceries weigh too much; 2. weather is bad; 3. too drunk.

My answers to these excuses: 1. buy sidebags for your bicycle or a cargo trailer; 2. buy a raincoat; 3. ??? How can you be too drunk ???

Seriously, you can easily implement these changes in life, but only if you want to. Cycling drunk from and to a party is not a bad thing. At least you are not mowing people of the sidewalk with your drunk ass in a car... Bad weather is not a reason to not cycle, as there is special clothing for that. And you would be amazed how much heavy stuff you can transport using your bike. Backpack + side bags/trailer = lots of stuff. There is no way you need the amount of stuff that one is able to carry.

Nuff said. There is no excuse for not taking a bike for the portrayed scenarios. The only excuse I am willing to accept from someone is: "I have no legs" or "I am so fat that I didn't see my penis for about a decade".
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