Welcome to my newest blog-in-a-blog, which will be a regular feature here on AR.com. What’s the B stand for, you ask? Well, a couple of things. Blondes (Lindsay Berra and me) and Bikes (the pedal variety). For the next year, Lindsay and I are training to ride from NYC to San Francisco. Throughout that time, will chronicle our journey here, as well as on espnthemag.com down the road (pun intended).
Initially, the idea to turn ourselves into badass (another B!) cyclists was born of necessity. I had back surgery; Lindsay had hip surgery and with each, our running careers disappeared. We started riding, as most people do, as a way to reclaim the thrill of a long run without the wear and tear on our bodies. Once we started riding, we needed a challenge. This was what we came up with.
Knowing it would be tough to take three months off work for a cross-country ride, we pitched the idea of combining the ride with our work, a feature we are tentatively calling Blonde Sportswriters Bike America. (Better suggestions for our tour name are warmly welcomed.)
We are far from hashing out all the details, but the gist is this: We ride a couple hundred miles a day and stop along the way to cover grassroots sporting events and visit with athletes and sporty folks. (Hello, Mrs. Brady! Yes, so glad your son’s knee is feeling better.) Most days, an athlete will ride a leg with us and chat about whatever is on their mind. (Really, Lance? The lack of funding for developing new biofuels is keeping you up at night?) We want to promote a green lifestyle, fitness and hopefully raise money for a great cause. Some days, we’d like to invite kids to come out and ride with us to promote childhood fitness. (No, little Johnny, playing Shaun White Snowboarding on the Wii does not count as fitness.) Other days, we’ll invite women or senior citizens or dads and, who knows, maybe Oprah and her crew will meet us for a few miles in Chi Town.
Now you know the motivation behind our ride. My motivation behind this training blog is entirely different. Cycling is an amazing sport, especially for anyone with back injuries, like me, or whose bodies aren’t well-suited for running. And, unlike running, cycling is a perfect sport for speed junkies (downhill skiers, this means you). You certainly can’t speed down a hill with the wind in your face on your new Nike running shoes.
But, like most gear-oriented sports, cycling is intimidating. (As are most of the gear heads who’ve been at it for a long time. You don’t know what a head tube is? Sheesh. Why even ride?) Especially to women. I want to change that, and help anyone reading this blog get over that hurdle and get into cycling. So, beginning with my next entry, I will guide you through the process of choosing and buying a bike, tell you how to get fitted for your bike and teach you lessons like changing a flat and packing for a long ride. We’ll do it together, and we’ll start at ground zero.
Beginning with BBlog1: Buying a bike. I’ll show you exactly what bike and components I purchased and offer some money-saving tips. It’ll be fun. I promise.