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You Can’t Beat a Bike

The most versatile, fun, and best value exercise device may already be in your garage.

This past Sunday my kids and I got a bird’s eye view of the impressive “” bike race that took place downtown. We live just off “Tully’s Square” and were out on a shopping mission to make up a care package to send my oldest son who graduated from Amador but is going to college in So Cal, when we found ourselves in the midst of the whizzing streaks of streamlined athleticism. It was quite a sight.

The riders came in different shapes and sizes but all had compact, lean frames and powerful, muscular legs. It was fun watching the packs zoom by with a sound you might expect from a passing swarm of giant hornets.

But even more fun was the BMX biker exhibition we stumbled across around 1pm on Neal between Main and First streets. The pictures above don’t do the show justice. These amazing riders took BMX stunt riding to a level that I wouldn’t have believed if I hadn’t seen it myself. It was a dazzling display of power and control and seeing it up close made it even more exciting. 

When I was a kid, the motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel was popular. My friends and I built wooden ramps and sailed down driveways on our BMX bikes to pick up speed coming into the ramps in effort to jump up to three tires laid end-to-end on the pavement. How I managed to stay out of a cast still boggles my mind. So watching these talented guys zip around, doing twin somersaults on the bikes, passing each other in mid-air was spellbinding. And the announcer told us they had just done another show the night before and were operating on two hours of sleep!

My point here is that the bike is probably the most accessible, adaptable and just plain fun piece of fitness/recreational equipment ever invented. During my first year in business, I hiked my Hard Rock mountain bike onto an indoor trainer to convert it to a stationary bike. Adding arm and shoulder movements with resistance is still one of my favorite cardio exercises to take my clients through even today.

If you have a bike, get it out and take a ride. Challenging yourself with some modest hills (around is a good start) or even an ambitious climb (up Bernal from First toward Kottinger Ranch is a challenging incline). If you don’t own a bike, think about getting one. You can find good used bikes on Craigslist for a steal and there are several bike stores here in town.

It’s also a great way to get the whole family involved in a fun, recreational fitness activity. Head to one of the local parks and break out the Frisbee or Nerf football for some variety before you ride back.

And even if you want to stay in and watch your favorite show, plop your bike on the trainer in your living room and use the link above the get a great, non-impact aerobic workout while you pedal the calories away while strengthening your heart and lungs.

However you do it – ride on!

 

Pleasanton Bike Stores:

Bicycles Pleasanton

 

 

 

 

Dan is a nationally certified personal fitness trainer and former continuing education faculty member of the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American Council on Exercise. He is the owner and head trainer at Tri Valley Trainer, which provides personal and small group fitness training and nutrition guidance. He can be reached at Dan@TriValleyTrainer.com.

Thomas August 08, 2012 at 10:45 PM
I applaud the guy just standing there. But even if you don't end up BMXing or anything like that, riding a bike, even just on trails is a lot of fun! And it can bring a family together. I just encourage everyone to remember trail and bike safety. There's a lot of info here: http://2wheelbikes.com/resource.html

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