Biking for Fitness

     

    If you want to get healthier, there is nothing better than biking. It is excellent for cardiovascular exercise and to strengthen muscle. You have to do it right, though. You need to have a plan. You may think that because you already know how to ride a bike, it is just a matter of going farther and faster. That is actually a recipe for injury.

    First, you need to be smart. Set up a training regimen or find one online. Have a plan for what you want to accomplish, whether that is weight loss or to ride for a certain length of time or a specific distance. You want to start out at the level you are already at, then gradually work your way up to the place you want to be. You don’t need to go from four miles a day to 15 in a week, and you shouldn’t. You can set a high goal for yourself, but add realistic benchmarks along the way.

    Second, if you really want to improve, you need to increase your intensity. There is a difference between going three km on an easy ride for thirty minutes, or if you take the same amount of time and go twice as far. The best way to track these things are by using an accelerometer and a gps so that you can measure your workouts.

    Another thing you need to be is consistent. You must regularly work your muscles in order to improve or you will be wasting your time. Unfortunately, it is a lot easier to lose fitness than it is to gain. It can be a slog but stick with it to achieve your goals. Especially if you are training on your own, it can be hard to find the motivation. Giving yourself small rewards like some new gear when you hit benchmarks can really help you get where you want to be.

    One thing people overlook, which seems a little contradictory to the paragraph above, is rest. If you do a hard day, it needs to be followed by an easier day. Recovery is actually part of the best training regimens. If even your easy days are high enough intensity, you will be going into your harder days more tired than you need to be.

    Before I go, I want to relay one more thing, because doing that stuff is not all you have to do. You also need to have the right gear – if you don’t know what type of bike you should be riding or if it is adjusted properly to your height, spend some time at a bike shop. You also need to maintain your bike properly – make sure everything is tightened and that everything works the way it should before every ride. Keep it clean and oiled properly. You also need to wear the appropriate safety equipment. Take care of your equipment and it will faithfully help you reach your goals!

    Dirt Bikes!

    While I like riding my mountain bike a lot and that’s primarily what I do, I am also a fan of dirt bikes. It is all the fun of riding a bike but without nearly as much physical effort.There are some other differences, though.

    For example, dirt bikes can potentially be more damaging to the area you’re riding. There has been a smart push toward eco-friendly dirt bike riding. Personally, I make sure that dirt bikes are actually permitted on the trails I want to ride because I don’t want to scare off wildlife or run over some rare plant by accident. Some places allow both mountain and dirt bikes and some places are strictly one or the other. So it really depends on what you’re into and where you feel like going. I usually prefer tracks and moto parks to nature trails, which is sort of the opposite of the way I like to ride my mountain bike. To each his own, though. You might want to see some farmland or some plains zip by as you ride. You can just do what I do, poke around online for a bit and you’re sure to find a place that will fit your needs. There certainly are a lot of places to go, so no worries there.

    I find that I wear more protective gear when riding a dirt bike. That’s just common sense. The faster you’re capable of going, the more damage you can do to yourself if you crash. I’ll ride my mountain bike with shorts on without thinking twice about it, but I would much rather have my full legs covered while on the dirt bike. I also have a better helmet for that bike. I want a helmet cam for it. Maybe one day.

    I also have insurance for my dirt bike. It was a bit of a pain and I certainly had to look around to find somebody to do it. Not every company does the same way they have motorcycle insurance, and not every company supplies insurance that is actually worth anything. Again, it is a speed thing. I am way more likely to destroy my dirt bike if I wipe out on it than on my mountain bike. I haven’t had to use it yet but it is nice to have.

    I have a bit less of an understanding on all the parts to my dirt bike, as there is a lot more of them than my mountain bike. Therefore my mountain bike is much easier for me to work on by myself. I’ve got to take the dirt bike to a mechanic if something is wrong and it is not very obvious right away what it is. I am gradually learning how to take the thing apart and put it back together like I can with my mountain bike, but I am not quite to the point where I know everything yet.

    What about you? Do you have a preference between mountain and dirt bikes?