I took a short (6 miles) ride with my lovely wife this afternoon—it was a beautiful day, even with a stiff wind from the south, and she wanted to get outside, so off we went. I wanted to get back in time to get a little fishing in, so we rode north about three miles, then turned around. At the turn-around point, I noted (on my nifty little bike computer that we had averaged nearly 12 miles an hour so far. Granted, a good chunk of the first leg of the journey was a fairly long downhill stretch, and we had the wind at our backs, but still, given that I usually average a lot slower speed (less than 9 mph isn’t unusual for me on flat roads), I was feeling pretty good about it.
The trip back, though, was a lot tougher—into a strong headwind, at times I was only able to manage 6 or 7 mph. (To say that I’m not very aerodynamically-shaped is a pretty comical understatement.) But even with the long uphill stretch, we ended the trip after 6 miles with an average speed of over 9 mph.
When I first got back on a bike back in May, a six-mile trip was a big accomplishment. Of course, I weighed over 300 pounds at the time, and I hadn’t done much physical exercise beyond a 30-minute walk for quite some time. Now, 65 pounds lighter, I’m really able to tell the difference in the amount of weight that I’m carrying on the bike. Riding is much easier and much more enjoyable.
Well, duh. Who wouldn’t have an easier time riding if they could shed 65 pounds of excess weight?
Over the weekend I had to buy some cat litter (infernal poo machines, that’s what they are, those evil little feline devils), and I was lugging a 27-pound box of the stuff to my car when I realized that not too many months ago, I was carrying the equivalent of almost two and a half 27-pound boxes of cat litter in my body ALL THE TIME. I can’t even imagine it now.
Life is good.