🌄Friday, April 18th
April 15 | Dobby Gibson
While my friends kicked off 30DOB with a group ride in Minneapolis the other weekend, I celebrated a different way: I took my seven_year_old daughter to the bike shop to buy her a new helmet.
At the risk of going Cosby on you, this was no mere errand. This was a sacred ritual — one that dates back to 1817, the Saturday Baron Karl von Drais took his daughter Bertha to Stuttgart Alternative Cycle & Skate to buy a Hello Kitty helmet she could wear while trying his new laufmaschine.
Don’t believe me? Try accompanying an impossibly adorable kid into a cycle shop. When you bought your helmet, did you draw three sales people to help you? Did even the tech with the ear lobe plugs and nose ring stop what he was doing and say aww? I didn’t think so.
My daughter walked in a queen, and walked out in an impact_resistant polycarbonate pink crown, one perfectly coordinated to her Chuck Taylors. She wore it the rest of the day, even in the house, hours after our first ride of the season.
The day reminded me why we adults lose our minds re_falling in love with biking every spring. Because I’ll be honest, it has struck me: 30 Days of Biking – is this a ridiculous thing for a grown_up to participate in? Spoke cards, really? Shouldn’t we be discussing Crimean politics and our retirement portfolios?
No, it turns out. Not on a sunny Saturday morning, anyway, when riding a bicycle becomes, once again, such an appealing, addictive circus trick. Think about it: we are balancing on two tiny wheels, people! It’s absurd — I sometimes can’t believe it’s physically possible. This is why cars come in colors like taupe and bikes come in glitter dreams and purple rain – simply pedaling down the block is a gnarly stunt.
So it’s April. I’ve decided I don’t need a single reason in the world to ride a bike, and neither should you. Let’s live the glitter dream while we can.
Dobby Gibson is a Minneapolis_based poet, creative director and absurdly tall person — though reasonable in most other ways.
📄Thursday, April 17th
Every so often, especially on days with rough weather, we get asked “Why April? Wouldn’t this be easier in May? Why are you subjecting us to this misery, 30 Days of Biking?!??!”
The short answer is that we thought of 30 Days of Biking in March 2010, and the next month was April. [wink face]
🌄Monday, April 14th
April 13 | By Jim Wollet
I’m normally a casual rider. I live in a rural setting, and as a result, often ride rural paved roads after work or take longer recreational rides with my wife on the weekend. I love being active so biking is in addition to spotty casual jogging, hiking and snowshoeing in the winter.
Wisconsin winters curtail my outdoor biking every year for 4 to 5 months due to the cold, snow and limited daylight. Still, I enjoy—and believe in the goodness—of changing activities with the seasons to avoid overtraining and promote mental freshness. This cold turkey yearly withdrawal results in a slowly growing biking fever. By late winter, I actually begin to occasionally dream of biking.
My bike dreams are almost too good to be true. The perfect biking weather. Exquisite sunshine. Warm massaging slipstream wind. Enjoyable exertion that reflects my strength and health. And, most important, the feeling of oneness with the outdoors. Riding is about feeling healthy and strong, carefree, joyful and free. Totally alive!
Last year my wife and I learned about 30 Days of Biking from our daughter Katrina. Together we completed it for the first time. We even came to the Twin Cities and did the kick off ride where we met many friendly and varied biking enthusiasts of all ages. With an exceptionally brutal April 2013, I admittedly completed a lot of my biking days indoors on the trainer to avoid the April weather and variable road conditions.
This year’s 30 Days of Biking is especially meaningful to me. About 6 weeks after completing last year’s April pledge I was diagnosed with the big “C.” Yep, cancer. I found a lump in my armpit and within weeks I had multiple tests, procedures and surgeries. A baseball_sized lymph node was removed and biopsied and a port was implanted in my chest.
As I was basically feeling fine and asymptomatic before my diagnosis, I can completely understand the phrase, “The remedy is worse than the disease.” Chemo poison was dumped directly into my chest via my nice new port every 2 weeks—rain or shine and low blood counts or not. I lost all my hair, even my eyebrows.
After several treatments I developed all the familiar side effects from chemo, nausea, chemo brain, reflux, taste changes, shortness of breath with activity, neuropathy (including fingers, feet and tongue) and more. All normal healthy foods tasted rotten, though my wife did try her best to make them palatable.
Six months of knowing I was getting poisoned every 2 weeks took its toll. I was definitely getting smacked as evident by the worsening side effects and increasing debility. By my last chemo treatment in December, I could barely think about going in again to get made worse by the chemo.
Throughout my early treatment, I managed to bike outdoors within my abilities, but soon I was no longer able to complete the hills or the distance when I finally stopped for the winter. For me, winter represented the darkness and cold weather (with continued poisoning) resulted in my physical decline. During the last month of treatment, restarting my biking outdoors was a goal, a dream and hope for the future.
It’s been four months since my last chemo treatment and I am still recovering. I did not sleep through a single night in March due to neuropathic pain in my right leg and actually was forced to use a cane for a while because of weakness. The pain is resolving, but I still have some leg weakness.
This year 30 Days of Biking came at just the right time in my recovery and it is the perfect activity for me to get motivated and active again. Although I have made it outside on my bike only 1 time so far, it was a gorgeous warm (60’s) day, you could say, “I’m living the dream!”
30 Days of Biking is like the ambassador for biking worldwide. The lack of competition, judgment, or exclusivity that can divide people is refreshing. To me 30 Days of Biking represents all that is good about biking. The joy, the freedom, the acceptance of others, and the community it brings and promotes. 30 Days of Biking is the right stuff!
Jim Wollet is a physical therapist and clinical research coordinator. He is also a cancer survivor, outdoorsman and jester. When he isn’t working, he enjoys writing and tinkering in his shop. You can read more about his cancer treatment in his blog post on the CaringBridge blog, Uplift.
🔗Monday, April 14thhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/super_number_one_cycling/id324517738?mt=2
Did you know 30 Days of Biking has two awesome dudes—Kevin and Andrew—podcasting every week about their 30 Days of Biking experience? You should follow along! Every episode is available for free download on iTunes.
April 10 | By Super Number One Cycling
This episode Kevin and Andrew recount their first week of 30 Days of Biking adventures, including Andrew achieving his goal of riding a century per month for a year. They also discuss the growing popularity of gravel riding and racing.
Super Number One Cycling is a weekly podcast created by Kevin Stulen (@theFourTree) and Andrew Thompson (@theNthAndrew). Together they discuss cycling and cycling culture beyond the pro peloton. When they aren’t on bikes or podcasting, Andrew is making electrons dance in Minneapolis, Minn. and Kevin is taming the rolling landscapes of Rochester, Minn. Follow them on this April on their 30 Days of Biking journey!
📄Saturday, April 12th
Here at 30 Days of Biking, we’re all about being joyful — especially when that joy comes from riding a bike (we might be a little biased on that part, though).
But joy, happiness, making new friends and seeing old ones who’ve been hiding away all winter are all things we hold to our hearts here. That’s why we are so happy that GreenBody is one of our wonderful sponsors this year!
GreenBody is a first_of_its_kind, Earth_inspired fitness studio based in the Twin Cities, which strongly believes in a body_conscious and eco_conscious approach. GreenBody enhances and sustains an active lifestyle through strength, endurance and movement training, coupled with the consumption of real, healthful foods.
If you’re wanting a fun way to get some exercise that’s not only good for your body but also your mind, you definitely want to go check GreenBody.
They’re local to the Twin Cities and we’re super excited about their unique approach to fitness. They also have trainers who give personalized programs in addition to the regular classes they hold at their studio and in some of the awesome nature that surrounds our great cities.
Tell ‘em 30 Days of Biking sent you and get a huge warm welcome! Learn more at http://www.greenbody.net