Even through all the craziness of the NBA Playoffs, I’ve found myself fondly looking back to my trip to San Francisco, and more importantly my glorious bike ride over the Golden Gate Bridge. =) I have to admit, in my little world, I thought this was going to be a breezy bike ride – nothing too long or too strenuous. Well, apparently, it’s fun being in my little dream world because man-oh-man this was a workout!
Our bike ride would start at Fisherman’s Wharf and end in Sausalito – just over 10 miles. As we started off near Fisherman’s Wharf, we went through all the different parts of San Francisco… Up the hills, overlooking the bay, through the marina, down on Chrissy beach, and finally to the Golden Gate Bridge. After we finished biking over the Golden Gate Bridge, we went down the steep, curvy hills and into Sausalito. It was completely gorgeous. There were tons of people biking that day, some touristy people like us, but mainly professional type (or at least those who owned their own bike - haha).
This was such a fun experience for me and afterwards I found myself asking, “why don’t I go biking regularly?” This question made me think of my friend, Chris, who I met through Twitter and who is a pretty avid biker. I sent him an email, intrigued to hear a little more about his experience with biking. I wanted to share his answers with you guys! Chris’s answers are in blue.
How long have you been biking?
Oh my gosh, it almost seems like I grew up on a bike. I’d say the more serious cycling started in middle school. My dad got me hooked on the sport soon after he got involved with it. He started cycling to lose weight. He did that big time, and still to this day puts in more miles than I do. He got involved (and then later on I got involved) with the Gainesville Cycling Club. Right now, I’d say I am a recreational cyclist. I try to commute to work by bike as often as I can (usually a couple times a week) and get out on a ride after work before the sun goes down. It’s a relaxing, therapeutic way to get to work and now that the sun stays in the sky longer, it’s a great way to unwind after work.
Have you ever participated in any races or biking events?
In cycling, there are many organized events (one can find races in Florida on the Florida Cycling website). If one’s happening near me, I love to go out and watch. There are also organized rides, usually for charity, and those usually are advertised at bike shops and I’ve seen a bunch on the Active website lately. I’ve done many of these around the state and feel good that I’m helping a cause. There is one put on every year by the Gainesville Cycling Club called Horsefarm 100. As the name implies, it’s a 100 mile ride through horsefarms. The name leaves out the hills though; 100 miles of hills makes for a long day. One nice thing about these organized rides is that there are usually several different distances to choose from, and they are well supported with rest/food stops every 15-20 miles or so.
Where do you go biking in Gainesville?
We have a great rail-trail in Gainesville – the Gainesville-Hawthorne trail. It’s a mostly shaded 15 mile trail from Gainesville out to Hawthorne. I’ve seen all sorts of wildlife out there from deer jumping out in front of me to snakes on the trail (don’t like those). And all sorts of people from tri-athletes training, marathon runners, rollerbladers, families with their kids in bike trailers, and even people riding horses. The best part is that no cars are allowed. There has been an effort to turn a lot of old rail lines into bike trails. I’ve read that Orlando is even working on a giant bike trail that will encircle the city. I’d try that when they get it done for sure. Here is a good list of rail-trails in Florida.
Do you have any favorite cyclists? Why do you like them or look up to them?
Cycling has been one of my favorite sports for a long time, but it’s never been a big sport in the US so it was always hard to know what was going on. I remember watching the Tour de France on TV back when I was a kid and that was about the only way anybody in the US knew about cycling. Social media, though, has totally revolutionized the way we get information on a lot of things, and cycling is certainly no exception. Lance Armstrong is probably the most famous name in cycling right now and he’s a huge fan of Twitter. I think he was probably the first person I followed when I got a Twitter account. For me, it’s amazing that he can be at the top of his sport and still be a great dad all the while running a global charity. There are a ton of other cyclist, cycling teams, managers, coaches, tri-athletes, etc. that have joined Twitter as well. It’s pretty amazing the level of behind-the-scenes information that’s available now and I know fans of cycling are eating it all up. There are several of these Twitter lists, and here is a good one to start with.
Chatting with Chris about his passion for cycling really makes me want to fit it in my crazy schedule… I mean, who doesn’t want to embark on a relaxing, therapeutic ride after a long day at work?
Are you an avid cyclist or do you just bike for fun? Share your stories!
Contact Chris via Twitter.