You could say I’ve *dabbled* in biking. I grew up in a hilly neighborhood (walking home up hill from high school with my heavy backpack is probably the original source of my back problems). Biking around was never fun because of those hills (seriously, its a roller coaster). While I know how to ride a bike, I didn’t spend a lot of time on one as a kid (like Eric and other friends of mine) and am therefore somewhat of a nervous biker. I ALWAYS wear a helmet.
When I moved back to Boston after a 9 month stay in Los Angeles (after graduating a month early from undergrad and before starting grad school), one of the first things I purchased was a bicycle. From Target. For approximately $100. It’s pretty stellar. I biked a little bit that first fall with friends (but not once did I manage to bike up the monstrous hill to my Somerville apartment).
A couple years ago, Eric and I decided to venture out on the bike path that connects Waltham to the Charles River Esplanade. Until you get to Cambridge, the path is beautiful. Some dirt pathways. Great views of the Charles River. And totally secluded from the roads. On this particularly beautiful day that we went out on a bike adventure, I managed to bike straight into the curb at the intersection of Soldiers Field Road and Cambridge Street… you know, just your average major intersection. Me, my bike, and my dignity were sprawled out in the middle of the street.
After a hobble down the street to a Rite Aid where we purchased all the necessary first-aid equipment to help my road burned thigh and cut up leg and ankle, I was stubborn enough to keep riding along and still have a lovely day with my main squeeze. Eric now always bikes behind me, I continue to always wear my helmet, and I’m still very scared of sidewalk curbs.
Where am I going with this? Well, in addition to having the most wonderful and short commute thanks to this move back to Somerville, we are now a block from an epic bike path. The Somerville bike path starts about a block from our house and goes straight to Davis Square on a lovely route that is tree-lined and filled with runners, families, dogs, and bikers. The bike path connects to the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway, which travels north through Cambridge, Arlington, and Lexington to Bedford.
Eric is thrilled to pieces that we live so close to the bike path, even to the point where he woke up at 5:30 am with me one day last week to go on a bike ride before work. It really is perfect since I run the path (I ran out 5 miles, back 5 miles on Saturday for my 10 mile long run) most mornings.
Even though Sunday is supposed to be my rest day, Eric and I ventured out yesterday on what I hope is the first of many bike rides. I hadn’t been on my bike for more than a year (I don’t think I took the bike out of the previous house’s shed the whole year we lived there), but it felt awesome. AND I ran (biked) into my favorite biking friend and her beau while on the path. I struggle with cross-training, but now that I know how easy it is to get on my bike, bike to the trail, and ride for miles, hopefully I’ll keep it up and do it once a week!
How do you cross-train? What are your tips for the novice bike rider who wants to make it a bigger part of her overall half-marathon training?