Two Wheels To #ORshow: 400 Miles of Conversations
Two Wheels To #ORshow is a three-part blog series from co-founder and managing principal Aaron Keller to talk about what happens when #weareOUTDOOR. Follow along with us as we have conversations surrounding outdoor, branding and designed moments. 400 Miles of Conversations is the second blog in the series, check out the first here.
Just seven years ago this summer my neighbors were selling an 80s Trek triathlon bike for $50 to raise funds for a cause. My last time on a bike was approximately ten years ago and I was looking for a sport to help me stay healthy. I've learned many things from that $50 moment to today.
Cycling, like any sport, has many levels and you can choose to engage as much as you like. Also, like many sports, the more you engage, the more you learn and the more you enjoy the outcomes. Here are some of the nuances I've learned in just 8 short years.
Shaving your legs: Let's get one of the big ones out of the way first. If you're a guy and shaving your legs isn't a regular event, it isn't required to be good at the sport. Though, you might enjoy it more as a ritual and indicator of your commitment to cycling. If you go there, I'd suggest SugarMeSmooth as a way to get yourself there faster and with less pain than many other methods.
Social: riding alone is peaceful and the distance you travel allows for seeing more sights, scenes and views than running. Though, cycling with others amplifies the experience and if you can, find a crew of riders to learn from and socialize with on a ride. The social side of riding is almost as valuable as the calorie burn.
Exercise: there are few sports that offer as much calorie burn opportunity with less damage to your body. If you've ever heard of interval training you know it is the best way to get in shape, increasing your heart rate, resting, then increasing again. In cycling, those intervals come in the form of hills. And, if you look past all the hype of magic pills and pseudo science to make you look great it all comes down to calories in and calories burned. Cycling is a beautiful way to burn calories and enjoy the world around you.
The bike: the levels of technology and ways to reduce weight are profound and detailed, ranging all the way from a fat tire bike capable of traversing Mars like landscapes to road bikes that feel like a toothpick beneath you. This is all interesting to learn over time, but not required. Here's the basics: the heavier the bike and the fatter the tires, the slower you're going to go, but you also might burn more calories per hour. The smaller the tires and lighter the bike, the faster you'll go but you'll also be limited by where you can go. I rode across Iowa, 400 miles, on an 80s Trek triathlon bike and didn't even know what that meant until I made an upgrade to a proper road bike.
Heart, lungs and legs: the bike technology you ride compares in no way to the size of your heart, efficiency of your lungs or strength in your legs. I've ridden with people who have spent ten times I have on bike technology and know ten times more, and all they ever see is my backside. Bike technology only gets you so far, time in the saddle and out on the road is the biggest contributor to enjoyment, calories burned and enjoyment of the sport of cycling.
My advice: find a bike, nothing special, just a bike to ride safely at a reasonable distance. Next, find people who like to ride. They are everywhere and more than likely they're social and good people (I've found angry, frustrated people are less likely to be on a bike). Latch onto a group, advance your knowledge of bikes and burn calories. If you're in any manner concerned about your health, this is a beautiful way to get and stay healthy while enjoying the effort.
Inspiration: the 400 miles of conversations was my inspiration for this post. I have just finished my 6th ride with our client SmartWool from Steamboat Springs to Salt Lake City over four days (this is the ten year anniversary for this ride). In those four days I've burned more than 17,000 calories, climbed almost 20,000 feet in elevation and enjoyed almost every minute of the ride with 75 people in the outdoor industry. I was able to rent and ride a hand crafted Moots bike made in Steamboat. My fuel was any food (from Pringles to pickles) I could get my hands on but often included the GU Energy fuels when it was critical.
So, in 8 short years I've gone from a $50 bike to renting a $10,000 bike (for $225.00) and riding over mountains. The only thing I would change in those eight years is adding more time on a bike- any bike.
I've rented bikes in many cities and enjoyed the sights of so many landscapes. If you need someone to ride with, reach out and if we're in the same city, I'll take a ride with you. If you'd like to talk bikes, brands or design, please reach out, we've got plenty of inspirational stories to share. Find us on Twitter @kellerofcapsule and @capsuledesign, or Instagram @aaronjkeller and @capsulebrand.