Banishing winter malaise on my new bike

tostita had the bright idea of getting bicycles for the whole family to help improve our odds of actually getting some exercise. I have a love/hate relationship with regular exercise. I’ve never been very athletic, but when I was younger, I liked biking and snow skiing.

I recently bought a Novara eXpress road bike at REI, a 2007 model similar to their 2008 model, but $200 less expensive due to a clearance sale. Bicycles have come a long way since I last pedaled around as a teenager. Push-button shifters! 27-speed gear sets! Carbon-fiber forks! Quick-release wheel assemblies! Toe clips!

The weather turned snowy and nasty right after I bought it, so today was the first chance I had to really ride it outside of the quick parking-lot demo I did at the store.

I was feeling down, but I keep hearing that exercise can help lift your mood, so despite the blahs I headed out. There are lots of good bike paths and less-traveled side streets in my neighborhood, we are lucky that way. I biked maybe a mile and a half total, figuring out how to best use the toe clips and the shifters. My wallet fell out of my coat onto the street once, fortunately I noticed. Some biking clothes and a fanny pack might help with that issue. I did not want to carry stuff in my pants pockets. It was about 45 degrees F out, so my ears were a bit chilly by the time I got home.

I do feel a bit better after having ridden around.


14 thoughts on “Banishing winter malaise on my new bike”

  1. Don’t worry about biking clothes. Just get out and ride.

    And it’s not really 27 gears, because in order to get all 27 you’d have to “cross chain,” which will stretch the chain prematurely (although there are worse things). So, think of the gears like this: when you’re in the big chain ring up front, you should be in one of the smallest three in the rear; when you’re in the middle chain ring up front, use one of the middle five in back (you have more leeway here); and when you’re in the small chain ring up front, use one the largest three rings in back.

    Ride on and enjoy!

  2. I know what you mean. I always feel better after jogging. I know this logically, yet I still have trouble getting out the door. My excuse lately is that I’m waiting for daylight savings time and that it’s “too cold”. I live in Florida though, and to me 50 degrees is way cold. Thankfully it’s staying lighter outside longer.

  3. Even 20 useful gear combinations is 10 more than I ever had at my disposal before. I mostly got the hang of the shifters on this ride. Thanks for the warning about cross-chaining, that reinforces what I’ve read.

  4. I get depressed/crazy-er if I don’t work out. It has a serious effect on your mood, but only if you exert yourself enough to get an endorphin buzz from it (I think for no reason other than my personal experience).

  5. heh, when i had my brief freelance job in georgetown, i used to bike in down the capital crescent trail in 19° weather πŸ™‚

    congrats on the bike purchase! it does my heart good to see more converts to my little cult… let me know if you need any tips or anything πŸ™‚

  6. Yay! Picking something you enjoy doing seems like one of those little details that makes or breaks whether exercise is play or work.

  7. interesting. But my throat and lungs do hurt when it’s 40 or below. Not to mention the needle feeling in the toes and ears. Thankfully there’s not much of that down here.

  8. Today it was most definitely play, I pedaled around the local community center bike path with Patrick, who still has his training wheels on the lowest settings. It sure gave me some perspective on how much people have to work on this to learn how to do it.

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