Tag Archives: cycling

How Many Bikes Do I Need?

Over the past few years I’ve been continuously reducing the number of things I own.  This is a process I refer to as “decrappification”, borrowing a phrase from the computing world.  Basically, I am trying to simplify my life and that includes decluttering my house.

So, of course, something comes along to upset my plans.  That something is a renewed interest in cycling this past summer.  I got the two bikes I owned out of storage, tuned and cleaned them, and I’ve been slightly less than obsessed with riding since.  One bike is a 1990 Univega Nuovo Sport 10 speed road bike, which is great for riding on pavement.  The other is a 1992 L. L. Bean Approach (non-suspension) mountain bike with all-purpose tires, which is suited for riding on gravel and dirt roads in my neighborhood.

I’m riding my Approach indoors on a trainer now that it’s gotten colder as winter approaches, but that’s not the same as being outside.  My Univega, having skinny road slick tires, is clearly not suited for winter riding when there is snow and ice on the roads.  I don’t want to subject my Approach to road salt and grime.  That’s why I bought a pair of used Mongoose Spectra full suspension mountain bikes a couple days ago, for the princely sum of $50.00.

One has a frozen front fork but a good rear cassette.  The other is just the opposite.  Both have cable and twist shifter issues.  All four tire tubes won’t hold air.  Here’s the thing: between them I can make one good, essentially $25.00 winter beater bike for riding after it starts snowing.  If it gets salty and dirty, so what?  (I have no idea yet what I’ll do with the leftovers, but I’m sure something will come to me.)

Oh, and did I mention I’ve got my eye on a Kent/GMC Denali aluminum frame, flat bar road bike?

Not bad for just $50!

Inch by Inch, Row by Row

Sometimes it is easier to focus on the big ticket calorie burners and to overlook activities which burn fewer calories.  The problem in doing so is that you don’t take cumulative impact into consideration.  A lot of little things added together can make a big difference. (I’m reminded of a song by Peter, Paul, and Mary that goes “Inch by inch, row by row, going to make this garden grow”.)  I offer for your consideration the following little things you can do, good for about 200 calories each.  Pick a few and make your own cumulative impact, or add some of your own devising.

  • Turn the stereo up loud and dance for 30 minutes.  Dance with one or more friends if possible, or solo if you have to, but dance!
  • Challenge a friend to a game of badminton and bring your “A game” for at least 40 minutes.
  • Spend an hour at a driving range, smacking the daylights out of a few buckets of balls.
  • Go for a 30 minute bike ride, but avoid coasting as much as possible by staying in an appropriate gear.
  • Take an hour some afternoon and mow, rake, prune, and mulch your yard. (Using a riding lawnmower doesn’t count!)
  • Spend about 40 minutes and thoroughly wash, dry, wax, and buff your car.  “Wax on, wax off”!
  • Jog for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After 10 minutes, do a 180 and run hard for two minutes. Rest for 30 seconds. “Rinse and repeat” four more times.

OK, by now you can see the trend. Everyday activities and slightly unusual athletics can in fact burn calories. You may not burn 800 in one session, but 4 sessions at 200 calories each is still…800! I don’t know about you, but I love this kind of math!