BUILD UP #LIFEMILES

Bicycling (South Africa) - - FIT CHICK -

I moved to Boul­der, Colorado, at the foot of the Rocky Moun­tains, when I was 25 – mostly broke, newly job­less, and to­tally car-less. So I rode ev­ery­where. I trun­dled around to the su­per­mar­ket, to whole­salers, to courier com­pa­nies (one-handed, with a box un­der my arm). To the bus de­pot haul­ing heavy gear for long camp­ing trips. To the photo stu­dio to get ac­tual film de­vel­oped (it was 1998). I’d some­times ride 30km to my then- girl­friend’s house, acutely aware that boyfriends are a lot less ap­peal­ing if you al­ways have to pick them up. (Spoiler: we broke up.) And of course, I rode road bikes and moun­tain bikes for fun. ¶ These er­rand kays weren’t ‘ junk miles’. A 10-minute sprint to the photo shop was a nice in­ter­val work­out. Rid­ing up a long hill with 10kg of gro­ceries on my back, in wind, was pretty good re­sis­tance train­ing. As a re­sult of all that rid­ing, I got fit. Re­ally fit. That spring, on my ‘ fun’ rides, I could pedal for hours. I could keep up with rid­ers who had dropped me be­fore. And it was a vir­tu­ous cy­cle: the fit­ter I was, the more I could ride. ¶ I got a car from a friend six months af­ter I moved; when I went to pick it up, I dis­cov­ered that a bear had bro­ken in through the back win­dow and denned there for the win­ter. So, the car needed to be fixed, and I needed to save up the money to do it. No big­gie: in the mean­time, I had my bike and my fit­ness. – Joe Lind­sey, con­tribut­ing writer

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