Saturday, February 11, 2017

Time To Ride: A Guide For New Parents

Time To Ride: A Guide For New Parents

I recently became a new Dad, and our new addition to the family has been a joy and a blessing.  The job of being a parent is a demanding one, so as a cyclist, finding time to ride was going to be a challenge.  I read an article in Bicycling Magazine about a new parent who was getting up in the middle of the night for diaper changes and bottle feedings, and couldn't fall back to sleep. He decided to use that time to go ride his bike instead of laying in bed, staring at the ceiling. He named the ride, "The Vampire" ride, because it was so early no one other than Nosferatu would be out on the streets.   As I read the article, I applauded his motivation, but realized that wasn't going to work for me.  Though "awake" at 3am, I wouldn't consider myself awake, more like a zombie and in no condition to pedal a bicycle. Stumbling in the dark to get to the nursery was enough of a workout for me, so I came up with a few solutions for myself to get some miles during the weekday.

 - Optimize Your Time:  Everyone's schedule is different, but there's always a free window in a busy schedule. Got a lunch? Don't sit at a break room stuffing your face with Cheetos thinking about a bike ride, go out and actually ride!  And make it count.  If you're a competitive bike racer, an hour is enough time to do interval training and still have time to cool down before heading back to work.  Non racers can benefit from the cardio, even a few short miles a day can add up by the end of the week. Just be sure to freshen up when you're done, no one likes a smelly co-worker.

-Planning Ahead:  Finding the right balance between work, family, and sport can be tough but all it takes is a little motivation and planning. I found that alternating weekends for group rides has been a success for me.  Talking to your spouse and working with a schedule makes it easier for you to ride. Don't be selfish, try to split the time with your riding buddies and the family as much as possible.

-Trainer Workouts: I have two options at home, a Cyclops Fluid 2 trainer and a set of rollers to choose from for riding inside.  I like to avoid riding indoors as much as possible, but since time is limited, they've been a lifesaver.  Since early mornings don't work well for me, evenings have been prime time to ride.   You don't need to spin for hours on the trainer, just do your workout, maybe an hour at the most and get off the bike.  It's also a good idea to give yourself time relax and unwind afterwards, or you'll never fall asleep.  

-Don't Stress: With all that it takes to care for a child, you can run yourself into the ground pretty easily.  Late nights, early mornings as well as all the other headaches during the day can stress your body out quickly.  My advice is to ride when can, and don't stress! If you have a consistent riding schedule during the week, you may have to alter it if things aren't going your way at home. Remember, riding a bike should always be an enjoyable experience!

-Get The Right Gear: Whether you're riding at night, or early in the morning, chances are you need appropriate gear to keep you safe and visible.  Making the investment in lights was a smart choice for me, since I wasn't riding with them before.  Cateye makes some of the best lights in the business, as well as NiteRider , Cygolite, Lupine and Light & Motion.  Did I mention you can find these systems at The Caffeinated Cyclist? Besides a good light system, the right clothing goes a long way.  There are plenty of brands to chose from, so if you're not sure, your local bike shop will gladly help you find what you need.

Now get out there and ride!

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