Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Biking to the Gym - idiosyncracy, or integration?

In what seems to become a series on the exceedingly boring things I do with my bike in my every day, several times a week I bike to the gym, a notion that is a bit at odds.  You bike to stay in shape, the gym is also for staying in shape, so why exercise to your exercise?

Unfortunately for myself, I am framed out so that I'd have been a total hottie in the Renaissance, but less so now - I've never been smaller than a size 10, even when I was riding 150 miles a week on my road bike and doing kettlebell exercises twice a week.  Some would say this is an issue of diet, but a lot of it is also genetics.  To make things a bit more difficult, there's an extreme genetic tendency on one side of my family towards adult-onset diabetes, and I also have a lifelong issue with my right knee and ankle.  All this adds up to REQUIRING exercise to stay healthy - I can't get away with it.  Despite my cycling, I'd noticed the number on the scale staying in a place a bit higher than I liked, so for my birthday, I got myself a membership at my local YMCA and set myself up a workout.

One weird thing is I absolutely hate changing clothes in a locker room - something about my Catholic upbringing forbids even slightly public nudity, even in a place built for changing clothes.  I tend to work out in a tshirt in shorts and avoid carrying a gym bag, so in the winter, it was a real challenge to motivate myself out the door.  Another issue is my workout shoes - I, as opposed to everyone else on the planet, work out in shoes that are honestly pretty terrible for cycling, the Vibram FiveFingers KomodoSport, which are basically gloves for my feet with a thin, textured sole designed to mimic the mechanics of walking barefoot.  They're great for my knees, terrible with my pedals.  The wind also cuts through them like, well, cold wind through thin material.  Or a hot knife through butter, whatever your preferred metaphor.  What it basically comes down to is that the clothing I work out in is TERRIBLE for cycling in the winter, and I always change before I leave the house, so the warm weather is a blessing for my motivation.

So where this lands me is a weird disconnect between cycling and working out - bike rides "don't count" unless they're over a certain distance, I change clothes to work out, but refuse to for cycling.  I think it might be that cycling has reached such a default point in my world that it no longer constitutes that little bit extra, so I keep having to find it somewhere else.  Am I alone on this?

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