Biking over 40 miles in one day is a challenge, and it can be intimidating. Each member of the Whole Living group participating in the TD Five Boro Bike Tour had varying levels of anxiety about biking that distance. A few of us had done the ride previously, so we knew we could do it. Others weren’t so sure.
Liz Adler (seen speaking in the video above) had never completed anything like this before, and she was nervous. But in the weeks leading up to the ride, I saw her transform from someone who thought physical challenges were not her thing to someone who saw herself for the first time as a biker, as an athlete.
She said this change occurred during training—the day that she and fellow teammates Jason Hamilton and Stephanie Hung went for a 30-mile bike ride throughout Manhattan. She had been slowly increasing her distances in the two months leading up the bike tour, and this long ride solidified her confidence in herself. She could do this!
So how can you get started biking this summer, and even aim to complete some kind of bike ride like the TD Five Boro Bike Tour?
- Get the proper gear. We'll talk more about exactly what you need for different kinds of bike rides. One thing is for sure: you always need a helmet and a bike in proper working order. Have your bike checked out at a local bike shop to check your bike’s brakes, chain, and other components.
- Get on your bike. Sometimes just getting started seems like a bigger deal than it is. Start out with a short ride, or if you feel like it, a longer one. Make it fun. Go with friends or family or go online to research bike groups in your neighborhood so you have companions on your ride. And be proud of yourself! The better you feel about what you’re doing, the more you’ll want to continue.
- Get on your bike again. Increase the amount of time and distance on your bike as you continue to train. You can track the distance you’ve traveled with sites like MapMyRun.com (which also works for biking) or by purchasing an inexpensive bike computer, often found for around $20 at most bike shops. Not only will the repetitive training get your body more prepared for longer bike rides, the confidence you gain will be helpful as you try to go distances you haven’t gone before.