How I got addicted to my accidental bike habit.

How I how I got addicted to my accidental bike habit. After purchasing a quality bike and discovering adventurous new trails, this story showcases how my entire life changed overnight.

For long time readers, you already know of my passion for hitting the local forest trails by bike each evening.

There is nothing but NOTHING like hitting the smooth, winding trails that meander through deep forests and along river banks. I mean, you are treated to nature at your own pace while actively getting out there and doing something good for yourself health wise.

My bike obsession wasn’t a planned thing by any stretch of the means though.

Allow me to paint you a realistic picture.

I was an out-of-shape 54 yr old that couldn’t exercise due to old injuries. Every square inch of me ached.

I walked when I could, but even that hurt my feet, which had issues of their own.

Working out on gym machines always sent me back in for adjustments.

Nothing was working. And nothing was even fun.

Know what? If it hurts or you don’t like it, you won’t do it. Plain and simple.

Then through a series of miracle-like events, the perfect bike landed in my hands, which ended up dramatically changing my world overnight.

3 years later, many of you follow my pretty much nightly Insta Stories I share from my trail rides. You write me to tell me how much the scenery is so calming. The biking has resulted in also getting MANY questions ranging from what kind of bike I ride, what gear I use, and how to maintain a bike.

I even have an entire section HERE on all my bike rides.

So… it was time to pay proper homage to my most fav habit in the world.

Today is a story of the most unlikely athlete that ever lived (trust me on that), turning into just that by complete fluke.

Or was it?

How I how I got addicted to my accidental bike habit. After purchasing a quality bike and discovering adventurous new trails, this story showcases how my entire life changed overnight. Via the Vedder River Rotary Trails in Chilliwack, British Columbia Canada.

All Things Bike

 

Part 1 – How I got addicted to my accidental bike habit. (you are here)

Part 2 – How to buy the best bike for you, plus 10 must-have accessories

Part 3 – How I service my own bike (coming soon!)

Riding the country roads in Hope, British Columbia, Canada. Part of - How I how I got addicted to my accidental bike habit. After purchasing a quality bike and discovering adventurous new trails, this story showcases how my entire life changed overnight.

How I accidentally got into biking

 

I’ll never forget this conversation. I was chatting it up with Jolene, who happens to be my niece AND fabulous hairdresser, and as usual, spewing out how blue I was after arriving home from yet another  tropical vacation. (the holiday blues are real, folks)

I moaned, “I need something different to raise up my spirits!”

I had also whined chatted about how it was impossible to get my truck to and from the local service station. When you are a one-person / vehicle home, you end up sitting and waiting for good long spells as your ride gets serviced if your place of choice doesn’t offer rental cars.

I believe I also mentioned something about lack of exercise… which I also have trouble with due to old injuries.

After my big wah wah fest, she simply asked, “Do you have a bike?”

A bike?

As in a bicycle?!

The last time I was on a bike had been a good long while. My last one came from a thrift store, and was currently sitting in my shed, seatless with a spring sticking up in place of it. Not exactly inviting! I got it to get around while camping. But once I no longer camped and that seat popped off, it became a stored sunken pirate ship treasure relic.

So as Jolene clipped my hair back to perfection, I began to seriously muse about her question… I mean, all the puzzle pieces seemed to fit. I could pick up my own truck after servicing AND get out there moving around again in hopefully a way that wouldn’t harm old injuries.

Workin’ the best hair day ever, I decided to bypass the cheap route and visit a specialized bike place instead. I was curious what made a good bike a good bike. Plus, I kinda hoped for specialized one-on-one help. I wanted to get this right the first time.

Go big or go home at this stage of the game, right?

How I how I got addicted to my accidental bike habit. After purchasing a quality bike and discovering adventurous new trails, this story showcases how my entire life changed overnight. Showcasing a women's Specialized Hybrid Cruiser bicycle.
 

My Chosen Bike

 

The bike I ultimately chose a women’s Specialized Expedition Sport Hybrid Cruiser. Isn’t she a beauty?!

HERE is the first post I ever wrote on it. Which only very briefly tells the story. That’s why I’m rewriting the script with this series. There’s just so much more to share.


The best way to describe it is an ‘athletic’ cruiser. It has all the comfort of a cruiser, however has enough gears to perform well on hills and gravel so I could ride my local trails. And it fit me like an absolute glove!

Now, I really want to tell you about my shopping experience because it’s a HUGE part of the success of this story. 

However I’m going to save the shopping for Part 2 where I’ll also share all the must-get gear I fell in love with as well.

Seriously. Please do NOT buy a bike until you read Part 2. Because I want you to get the very best on the planet for YOU!

Discovering the new trails

 

So, once I got the bike home, the very first thing on the list was to take my truck in for servicing. I was officially ready! So I called and made the appointment right away.

Upon proudly checking in my truck with bike on hand, I wasn’t wild about the ride home. I was across the river from where I lived and the two bridges that did cross were very far apart. So musing out loud, “I sure have a long bike ride home…” won me the golden ticket that day.

That’s when the attendant suggested, “Why don’t you go over the train bridge?”

Huh? What train bridge?

Graffiti-marked trail bridge that crosses the river at the Vedder River Rotary Trail in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada

“YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE THE TRAIN BRIDGE IS?!”

Um… nope.

He then got out a map and drew a straight line from where we were to where my place was. And the bridge was right on that line.

What in the world?! I was nearly home and didn’t even know it? How have I lived here 10 years and not known this?!

This was big news. For I was on the side of the river where I grew up. Where there was miles upon miles of quiet paved country roads yet to be discovered with my new bike! All accessible by bike from my front door!

Which you may remember back in these 3 posts HERE when I visited my childhood farm on bike with my son.

And I didn’t even know about the MILES of trails I was about to find out about in 10 short minutes.

The Blue Heron Reserve sitting area overlooking the wetlands in Chilliwack, British Columbia Canada along the Vedder River Rotary Trail

To get to the train bridge, I needed to enter the Blue Heron Reserve which is a natural habitat park. I knew of it but had never visited.

And it was the most beautiful sight I ever did see. The main trail led to all these other branched off trails with sitting areas in front of the wetlands. It was spectacular.

But I was mindful to just get home, because this was a big deal trip for me already. I was just hoping I’d make it, period!

Graffiti-marked trail bridge that crosses the river at the Vedder River Rotary Trail in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada

After much doubting and trail winding having NO idea where I was, BOOM. The bridge appeared. Holey moley.

This right here is the portal that eventually changed my life.

Now crossing this thing was not exactly something I had on my wish list. I was paranoid. So I looked both ways, hoped a train was a LONG ways away, then crossed it to the other side without incident.

But I made it, only to find even more trails branching in every which direction. A gold mine of goodness ahead yet to be discovered!

How I got addicted to my accidental bike habit. A story of a chance purchase that dramatically changed my life starting the very next day.

Once I got home, I was completely beat but oh so happy! Did I mention it was raining?  Oh no, I didn’t. That was a VERY BIG WET TRIP for someone without riding legs. And I’d have to return the next day to get my truck. But at least I knew I could do it, and it would ultimately get easier as time went on… right?

At least I could hope.

But all that really mattered was, I was so excited with all my new trail discoveries I was about to BURST.

Biking trails along the Vedder River Rotary Trail in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada

Where it gets really good

 

On the way to picking up my truck the next day, I decided to live dangerously and try one of the other new trails that spun off the main one. I didn’t have a map on me but mused I could just turn around if I felt it was getting too far out.

So I tried adding one. And it felt so amazing! It was as if a whole new world opened up to my otherwise little square boxed-in life.

Riveted, I vowed to get on that bike daily and eventually see where each and every one of those trails branched off to!

So everyday I could, I got on that bike and did what I felt I could. Getting to the bridge alone was a big deal, so I decided to try some other trails on MY side of the river. A whole network there too!

Basically put, my world had just exploded with a network of trails that never seemed to end. If you had told me I just moved to this new wonderland without having to box one item, I would have agreed with you.

And being that my bike was so comfortable, I could NOT get off the thing. Every day I got on, my endurance just continued to grow.

But here’s the kicker.

The farther I rode, the trails rewarded me with even prettier trails than the ones I just travelled. It was as if I was being lured deeper into fitness in order to get to the really good stuff.

So I pushed it. I wanted in on those pretty trails and did what it took. It was effort! And gradual. But nearly every single day, I made that effort.

It soon became easy. And effortless.

And then I fell hopelessly in love.

I was officially hooked.

How I how I got addicted to my accidental bike habit. After purchasing a quality bike and discovering adventurous new trails, this story showcases how my entire life changed overnight. Showcasing the Vedder River Rotary Trails in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada

Where I am 3 years later

 

Everything is different. EVERYTHING.

My #1 reason to get on that bike daily is because I LOVE it.

But if I feel stressed, I think nothing of heading down the stairs, checking the tires, and getting outta the house.

If the sun peeks out, oh! Time for a ride before it goes away! Another reason.

Or how about I just got all my work done and felt the need for a forest fix? You already know the answer.

Honestly, I go because I LOVE it.

The mere bonuses I get are a fitness level I haven’t felt in years, it helps knock off stress, and who doesn’t love being amongst nature? Plus I have an excuse to take pretty pictures too!

I even refuse to take the bike in for servicing because I can’t be without it even for a single day. So I’ve had to teach myself through YouTube videos on how to adjust brakes and oil the chain so I could keep it at home.

I’ll show you how I service my own bike once I write Part 3.

3 years later, my body knows when it’s between 4-6pm without even looking at the clock. I’m already dressed, then I grab my water and head out in moments.

What use to be a hardship of just GETTING to the train bridge completely out of breath is now only the start. I now even have the ability to do ALL the trails in one evening if desired! ALL OF THEM!

The last time I went to a physio appointment while my legs were being worked on, the remark I overheard was, “You have more muscle in one of your legs than I do in my entire body!”

How’s that for a completely out-of-shape 54 year old that ached with every movement, vs.a now 57 yr old who can ride more trails than ever felt possible?

And if you need one more final push…

nature fall bike ride vedder river rotary trail chilliwack bc canada

 

Why we need to sweat each day

 

In one of my therapy sessions awhile back, I learned how important it was to break out into a sweat at least once a day. Did you know this? I didn’t!

If you do a search, you’ll soon see it has to do with detoxification, stress relief, healing, increased endorphins, enhanced memory, the list goes on.

Laugh if you must, however I use to always try and stay sweat-free when doing stuff. I hated that feeling of getting wet then cold and what not.

I however had found nothing I liked doing that would get me to the sweating point. Walking hurt my messed up foot. I always got hurt on gym machines. Aside from yard or house work, which is not the same as working out, I was at a loss.

Once the bike landed in my hands, as my endurance increased, so did the sweat factor.

I noticed that if I had everything ready before a bike ride, I’d be more likely to get out there even faster. So every day I get dressed now, I put on layers and a sports bra so I am ready in 30 seconds to hit those trails.

I no longer worrying about sweating. In fact, I push it so I get there.

The riding has saved me many times over. No matter what my state of mind is in, it’s always ALWAYS a good day for a trail ride on my most fav bike in the whole wide world.

And that’s a very good habit to be addicted to, wouldn’t you say?

bike on the Vedder River rotary trail during summer

All Things Bike Series – teaching you valuable bike tips!

Part 1 – How I got addicted to my accidental bike habit. (you are here)

Part 2 – How buy the best bike for you plus 10 must-get accessories

Part 3 – How I service my own bike (coming soon!)

All instalments to date – ALL THINGS BIKE HERE

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Find out where I ride and read all my other pretty bike posts HERE
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  1. I have a lovely new Trex bike but am ashamed to admit I don’t
    know how to shift gears, as I had coaster bikes as a kid. Any clues there?

  2. I live close to a bike trail on an old railroad right of way. I also found my love for biking. It is something I love to do so its’s not hard. Every year the trail gets busier, so there are more bikes being sold everyday. People are even setting up coffee shops(brewries) along the trail so you have a destination. I started biking at 50 and I am 65 and still biking. Bike ON!
    Have a super day!

    • How awesome Linda, I can tell you get it! I noticed yesterday that there is a food truck now in one of the river parking lots which is even more enticing to get there on bike! haha The lure of food or coffee is real…

  3. Hurry with Part 2, I’m in the market for a new bike and please also share where you found those fabulous baskets. I need bike rides in my life!

    • Haha, yay Sandy! I have most of the post already written, just adding tweaks. I’ll attempt to get it out there next week!

      Hope you’re prepared for your life to dramatically change… for the better!

  4. This post is exactly what I needed to see! I bought an Electra bike last year to ride in our 55+ community and could not even ride it for longer than 5 minutes for the first day. I worked up to an hour over the summer. I did not stay with it over the winter, so today was my first day back out and I did 15 minutes. You have given me the encouragement I need to get out there and build up my strength! I like you have foot issues and can’t walk which I love to do, so biking was the best option for me. Thank you so much for this timely and needed series of post. I look forward to learning how to service my own bike soon with your help!! I want to mention also that if you have not tried it, you might learn to love yoga like I do for additional exercise. I do chair yoga as it is hard for me to get off the floor. It is so calming and helps with balance and stretching our bodies. I hope with biking and yoga I can get is much better shape this year. Happy biking!!

    • So impressive Lin, I’m so glad you found a way around basically the same issue!

      Is an Electra with a motor assist? A friend of mine just got one and it’s such a cool addition, although his bike is much heavier than mine. If you find yours heavy, you may just for fun try out one without the motor to see if it’s easier…

      I’ve never heard of chair yoga before but I aim to find out more. Thank-you for that tip!

      Happy biking! Here’s hoping you’ll punch through that 15 minutes in no time!

      • Thank you for your reply to my post on your last post. Electra does make an electric also but mine is not electric.

        I am glad you want to check out chair yoga and hope you will like it!

  5. When my vertigo got to the point I had to retire from work -3 yrs ago- I stopped biking too. But I missed biking. I walk, lift weights, but my cardio is really bad. So this spring I treated myself to a Hybrid. Like you, I went to a Bike shop, where they fit me to a bike. After so many years of not biking, everything sounded like a foreign language. Twenty-seven speeds? eeeekkk! I have my new bike home, but I’m terrified to get on it! It’s been raining for 40 days & 40 nights here. Getting a car thru our dirt road is questionable & our rural roads are covered in winter sand. And now we’re in flood season. I know if I don’t get on soon it’ll become harder to start. But I know the right time is coming….besides I’ve got a manual, a helmet & lots of road out there. I just need to put one pedal in front of the other! Best wishes,Wanda

    • Wow Wanda, I can see why you hesitate, I don’t think I’d get out there in that weather either.

      I also understand the vertigo. One of my injuries left me in that condition for a VERY long time. I hope you found a way around it, I found getting my neck worked on was the key for me.

      As for that bike, it’s really as easy as not being hard on yourself. I vote to establish an easy routine that doesn’t require breaking out in to a sweat. Make it super enjoyable and try a new route each day.

      You’ll soon find you want to do more just to see what’s on the other side of that trail!

      I hope you update your progress… I’d love to hear about how you’re doing on this!

      • Thanks for the sound advice Donna. I’ll keep you posted. I love reading about your adventures & your triumphs…stay well! wanda

    • Hi Jill! It’s still in draft mode. I had some home maintenance issues that needed tending to first so I chimed in a new post around that first. I’ll ensure I dust the bike post off and hopefully get it up soon. Thanks for the reminder!