A Self-Proclaimed Geek Takes on Cycling
Today’s guest post comes courtesy of Aaron Madrid of Lafayette, In. Aaron was a teammate of ours on the #LovingtheBike #30daysofbiking Challenge, and ended up generating the most points and was the individual winner on the team. Congratulations to Aaron, and I hope you enjoy his post.
by Aaron Madrid
Geeks are not known for being fit individuals. Thanks largely to a hobby that encourages hours a day of…well… sitting. This has been my life; I have beaten more video games than I can remember, and gotten too frustrated to finish countless others. I have spent over 100 hours just on World of Warcraft. A little under a year ago, however, all that changed when my wife told me she was pregnant with our first child. I realized quickly that I owed it to my wife, my child, and myself to get myself in shape.
As a 6’2”, 300lb man, I have never been one for gyms. In truth, I have always been ashamed of my size, but lacked motivation to do anything about it. While I’m sure running is great fun for many, to me, it is the equivalent of receiving paper cuts on my eyeballs. I was running out of options for an enjoyable activity that would provide me the exercise I need to lose weight! While I debated, I managed to quit smoking, a habit of which I had been a slave to for over 10 years, and start a diet. Now I just needed a bike to start riding! Like many that I have tried to convince to join me in my two wheeled quest, I was discourage upon discovering the cost of a nice bike. By this time, we were about to have a baby, and I knew there was no way that my wife would let me spend 400-500 dollars on a nice bike.
Being the size that I am, and knowing that I planned for more commuting and paved trail riding, I narrowed down my choices to at least a cyclocross or hybrid bike, as I felt they might have more luck supporting me for long distances. Now I just had to find one that I could afford. While I searched for the perfect bike, I began to use the odometer in my car to measure distances everywhere I went. I live in a medium sized college town in the Mid-West and fortunately we have a good amount of trails in the area. Being a single car family or, “Car-Lite”, as it was recently coined; I was excited at the prospect of freeing up the car for my wife by biking to work. I just…needed a bike! I searched Craigslist for months but was ultimately left wanting. I frequented my two fantastic local bike shops hoping for a used ride my size to turn up, but I couldn’t find anything. With the sun lingering a little longer in the evening sky and the days growing a little warmer, I was itching to figure something out.
Out of desperation, and a little bit of frustration, I finally began perusing the big box stores for a lower end bike. I realized that I needed to quit focusing on the bike itself, and just start riding. A week later, I settled on a Schwinn hybrid bike that was just my size. I took the bike to my local shop for a tune up and to pick up a helmet and immediately headed out to ride (and to redeem myself a little). I have ridden every day since, increasing my distance each day, and loving every minute of it. Fulfilling my inner geek, I even managed to find some fantastic apps for my phone that track my distance, speed, and all variety of other things. Each day I ride, I push myself farther trying to break my “highscore”. After only a couple of days I quit worrying about fitness and realized that I just loved the bike.
As I began to spread the word of my new found love of the bike, I discovered countless other individuals in my situation. Once overweight gamers, with little interest in anything not set in a land that’s name contains two “Z’s”; the amount of people that I have discovered have also decided to get off the couch and get in shape is inspiring. There is an army of geeks out there that have realized the importance of healthy living and also the fun that comes with riding a bike. The paths might be getting a little more crowded soon, the geeks are coming!
Aaron Madrid is a recent father and convert to the Way of the Bike. A lifetime geek he now spends his time with his family or out riding his bike…occasionaly finding time to read comic books and play video games. You can find him ranting on Twitter (@Aaronthestrong) or at www.GuerrillaGeek.com.