Reconnect with the FUN of Bicycling

Me and all my fancy bike gear

Most of us began riding a bike at an early age and recall the exhilaration of independent mobility, proudly shouting “Look Mommy, no hands!” For a growing number of adults, bicycling is an ideal cardio activity, easier on the knees than running, and it is an increasingly practical and necessary mode of transportation in urban centers.
After a decade break from any bike, I finally got back on one in the early 90’s for both fun and function. But over time, I slowly forgot the fun part of bicycling and allowed elite cycle shops and bike club geeks to dictate to me the proper necessities for riding. But one day last year, someone asked me casually, “why do you like to ride a bike, Rue?” and I answered without thinking, “Because it makes me feel like a kid again”. I realized in that very moment that my current adult riding habits hardly resembled the carefree mount on my banana saddle on any given summer day in the 1970’s.
In 2009, I now had to remember the timing of when to shift to one of my oodles of gears. I required specially padded lycra booty shorts, a neon vest, two water bottle cages (with a protein/energy additive), fingerless bike gloves, nylon jersey, a clipless pedal system, and Italian hardware…OK…don’t get me wrong, safety items, such as a helmet and plain old water are critical, but all that other stuff? I don’t think so.
Shortly after getting clear about my real passion around bicycling, I decided to strip down my classic Bridgestone frame to just one gear, knocking off about 10 pounds worth of chain rings, derailleurs, shifters, and fancy pedals in the process. I also made my bike look sexy-hip with a new, bright white seat and chain — because as much as I love the sport of bike riding, sometimes I want to look cute while doing it too — so to that end, I also vowed to wear regular clothing on short bike rides to school and save the performance gear for less frequent extended rides.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have another fancy bike, loaded to the gills with tricks for the rides that require it. But for the moment, I’ll refrain from putting “twenty on ten” and instead reconnect with the little girl who simply loved to ride her bike in the sunshine with friends.

Bicycling in the Bay Area

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area where the weather is a reliable average of 65 degrees year-round and there are trails and paths with sweeping views just minutes away from wherever you live.

If you are thinking about riding a real bike in the Bay Area, instead of a stationary bike at the gym, try riding with the Oakland Yellow Jackets. Their first ride of the season is this Saturday! The first ride is traditionally a completely flat 10-mile ride that starts at Lake Merritt, goes to Alameda then heads back to The Lake where a potluck awaits! You can also join the club for only $30 for the year for guided rides that are planned at least once per week.
I love the Yellow Jackets because you don’t need an expensive bike and fancy gear to ride with them. They also organize group rides based on ability and stamina, so you can ride an easy flat ride if you’re a beginner or take on a more challenging ride if you’re a stud.
Check them out!