Wednesday, May 25, 2005

"I Want to Ride My Bicycle, I Want to Ride My Bike"

Generally I've never been too pleased with my physique. In a fit of humor or maybe caught off-guard during a weekend bender, the gene fairies gave me my dad's stocky torso and core, and my mom's thin limbs and digits. As a result, I'm simultaneously slight in parts and chunky in others. Think of E.T. but with a smaller head.

Especially annoying is the fact that I have no biceps or triceps to speak of. Oh, sure, I can lift heavy stuff when I need to, tapping strength from a rather generous ass or applying vise-like pressure with my rat claws, but my meaty pectorals are betrayed by skinny shoulders and arms, which simply refuse to add bulk.

And I have tried, Dearest Readership. I've spent hours and hours at the gym, or more enjoyably, heaving bags of manure in Wal*Mart's garden center years ago. For this, I was rewarded with a little upper body tone, but no bulk.

So I've decided to go the other way. If I can't add bulk, maybe I can lose some flab. I haven't driven my truck in about two weeks now, with the singular exception being a drive up to Vedauwoo last Friday for a quick two hour hike (see picture). I've biked out to Wal*Mart a few times; I've biked downtown when I've needed to go there, and I've resolved that if I need to get something from my storage unit that can't be carried in my backpack, I probably don't need it that badly.

Biking in Laramie is either technical in-town riding or highspeed burns through residential streets. By "technical" I mean slowly navigating curbs, tricky lights, and the occasional gargantuan diesel pickup. Despite what you might think, Laramie traffic can be oddly heavy, especially on Grand, the main east/west drag that borders the university. I've done a bit of city riding in my time (Champaign, Phoenix, Lexington, Seattle), and Grand at rush hour is second only to Seattle in terms of the likelihood of getting drilled by a car. At least in Seattle cyclists were respected on the road (although I did have a bicycle messenger friend who was booking down Pine from Capitol Hill toward downtown Seattle when someone opened their car door right in front of her. She told me later the subsequent crash was as close to wingless flying as she is likely to ever come). Laramie drivers on the other hand simply do not give a shit about cyclists, and the mile-long uphill pull on Grand to Wal*Mart requires staying off the street.

With the increased bike riding, I really think I'll be losing weight soon. I've had to stop going to the gym, since I'm not technically a student yet, but once my classes resume in mid-June I'll even try to work that into the routine. Mostly it just feels good to get out and sweat a little bit – I'm always a little happier at the end of a ride than I was at the beginning.

1 Comments:

Blogger Chad said...

Paul, I can sympathize. I figured out the same thing about a year ago. Why am I busting my ass on the weights, yet my muscles continue to be flabby? I have also adopted the "lose flab" approach instead. There are some good mountain biking and hiking trails around Happy Jack too. Check 'em out.

7:54 AM  

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