I got my start with cycling by going to spin classes at my local gym. The first spin class was excruciating, but for some reason, I wanted to go back. Spin class is the most intense workout I have ever done. At the end of class, the teacher estimated that those who stuck with the ride (not me) had burned around 700 calories. If you haven't ever done it, try it out, but be prepared for your backside to hurt! It takes a week or two for your rear to get used to sitting on a bike seat, so stick with it!
As I've blogged about before, at the beginning of 2012, my hubby and I decided to do a sprint triathlon. We gave ourselves about 4 months to train. Since I didn't own a bike, I shopped around and splurged on this beauty:
I had not ridden a real (not stationary) bike in at least 4 years, so it was pretty scary at first. My first few rides were restricted to the paved trails near my home so that I wouldn't have to worry about cars. After my first ride outside, I came home with a big smile on my face, exclaiming to my hubby "that was fun!" Once I felt comfortable with shifting gears, I decided to venture out onto the road.
This is when I learned that road cycling is not for sissies! My first few road rides were terrifying. I was keenly aware of my vulnerability as I rode along with traffic. Drivers are not terribly conscientious around cyclists, so I learned early on to make myself as visible as possible. I ride in bike lanes whenever I can, I hand signal my intentions, and if I feel there is not enough space on the shoulder of the road, I move over so that I am in the lane of traffic so that drivers won't buzz right past me.
Since then, I have become more brave (not holding my brakes down big hills) and more confident. I've learned that safe road cycling is mostly about communicating with drivers by signaling and making eye contact. And it really is fun. Cycling makes me feel a certain level of freedom that nothing else I've found does.