June 4, 2019

My Love of Biking!

Why I think Biking Adds Years to Your Life...

Here’s a glimpse into a pretty epic 48 hours in the life of an Exercise Physiologist…. Epic in many ways.

2 days ago: run 11km trail run with my hubby. The 24 hours prior to the “race” were kind of stressful – juggling house chores, kid requests, cramming in family time, wondering why I had signed us up for the event in the middle of a busy Sunday, anxious about the temperatures during the race and not having gotten in as many training days as I wished we had. We don’t take a lot of time as a couple, so to reframe the goal of the race – spend time together, be active and be out in the forest. Day of race: amazing. I knew that the trail and location would be great, but the organizers of the first annual Loveland Trail Race went above and beyond. Hubby ended up winning 3rd overall male! We were rewarded with a jump in the lake at the end, a cooler of beverages, chatting and connecting with other runners and community members.

Sarah and Jody post Loveland Bay Trail Run

Last night: last session with my Adult Beginner’s Bike Gang. 8 of us rode from Campbellton up the long slow climb on the ERT road to Beaver Lodge and did a bonus loop through Simms Creek West and McIvors where I witnessed them rolling over rocks and small roots and maneuvering corners through our glorious trails. I’m so proud of these ladies, their tenacity, commitment and positive outlook. Our last session will be June 9, and on June 21, we are riding the 25km Greenways Loop around Campbell River. We started with 14 in our group, with 6 of them not even owning a bike. It’s been so exciting to see everyone invest in their bike, and we are thankful to Laurel at Island Joy Rides for lending us the bikes and helping lead or sweep with the group.

This morning: Having breakfast with my kids and answering the question – “Why do we have to bike? When do we get to drive to school?” As a family, we are trying to keep the truck parked in the driveway more often, and share our one car – even if my hubby drives with his bike to work and rides home and I pick up the car to shuttle kids to activities later in the day.

In the end, my kids took off on me and biked themselves to school, me following a few minutes behind. I rode up to see a shiny new e-bike outside of the clinic, and a bike I recognized from the bike gang. I locked up my bike and was greeted by my first client, who said it was his e-bike! Talk about getting me discombobulated for my first client session – I was incredibly surprised, and so excited for the possibilities for this great couple.

To say this gentleman has gone through a lot of health issues in the past year is an understatement. He’s incredibly dedicated to his work, runs a very successful family business, and has had a lot of life experiences along the way. His heart is the main concern right now, and he’s been a client of mine off and on for about 5 years. I respect the fact that we are all on our own journey, and never, ever “give up” on my clients. Bottom line: I’m their #1 cheerleader, and if they show up, I’ll meet them wherever they are at that day. His sessions have gone in waves and physical activity is just not something that he’s enjoyed as much as working on cars or riding motorcycles. He’s blessed to have an incredibly supportive wife, who is trying her absolute best to make healthy decisions and take care of herself, her hubby and her family. It’s been challenging to find modes of exercise and activity that he enjoys and not make riding the stationary bike or walking a chore, but at this point exercise is most definitely part of his “prescription” for trying to have as many healthy years as possible. Even 10 minutes of the right type of moderate aerobic exercise lowers blood pressure by opening capillaries in our muscles and effectively lowering the amount of resistance the heart must work against. Think of a garden hose with greater diameter at the end of the line…

My client commented today that his e-bike cost more than his first 2 cars…. My response was that if used the right way, it will add years to his life, and quality years at that. He’s sick of riding the stationary bike, so decided to drive to Nanaimo on the weekend and purchase an e-bike from BCebike.ca. As a seasoned motorcycle rider, he’s comfortable navigating in traffic, turning, etc, so this was truly a perfect fit for him. He’s got a handy phone case on his bike so that he can monitor his heart rate and add a little help whenever his heart rate is going beyond his target. Now he’s just got to figure out how many hills his battery can handle and he’s off and riding!

I also think/hope that the stigma with e-bikes is changing – they give those with lower fitness level a chance to get started and for those whose health is maybe declining, the chance to keep riding. Same thing for beginner bikers – it can be an intimidating bike world out there, so those who are seasoned riders need to help to create a supportive environment for those getting started.

One of the bike gang gals last night said she finds it easier to walk up stairs after she’s ridden a bike. Biking is low impact and when set up right, is easier on your joints than walking or running. It seems like a bit of a rabbit hole in terms of cost. Once you get the bike, you need the helmet, the tool kit, the bike rack, etc. We invest money in all sorts of things that maybe don’t help us that much on the road to health; investing in a bike has so many benefits when you start to think about it. I’m so incredibly excited for all these bikers. We are finished our Bike Gang sessions for spring, but I’ll likely hold another group session in September.

Join us on June 21 for the Greenways Loop Ride starting from Rotary Beach at 6:30pm. Wear red, ride counterclockwise and be a part of the drone footage showcasing our beautiful, bike friendly community.

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