People On Bikes

Orlando Sentinel: How one man’s 40-day bike challenge changed his life

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For those who celebrate Easter, giving up something for Lent is pretty commonplace. It’s an act of faith to demonstrate spiritual discipline.   Some people give up television (or Netflix streaming nowadays), soda, chocolate, social media, etc.

Imagine giving up your car.

Or at least ditching it for a bike as much as possible.  That’s what Rob Shelton of Winter Park did.  And he said it changed his life.  Shelton’s feels healthier and more connected with his friends and family now than ever.

Here’s an excerpt from his May 30 opinion piece in the Orlando Sentinel:

What really matters, however, is that I’ve influenced people to get outside more; my relationships are stronger than they have been. Professionally, I am now the guy that rides his bike (good or bad). My network has grown. I’m in better shape than I have been in 15 years.

If you have the means, and the ability, get out and ride. Even one day of feeling the wind in your hair can change your life for the better.

Read the full article below.


Orlando Sentinel
May 30, 2016
Rob Shelton

I rode my bike for 40 days in a row. It changed my life.

Since those 40 days ended (I resolved to ride during Lent), I focus on ways to avoid driving. Even my wife thinks of alternatives to driving to the store.

Were there days I dreaded throwing my leg over the bike to ride?

Absolutely. But I’d feel guilty or cranky until I went for a spin. By the end of 40 days, when I took break for a couple of days, I was miserable. I missed the stress relief of the wind in my hair, surrounded by nature.

Speaking of nature, riding my bike made me even more aware of our environment. I have asthma, and on days when there is a lot of traffic on the side roads due to an accident on the highway, it is very noticeable. I find it much harder to breathe in those situations. I wasn’t some climate-change denier before, but I certainly have seen and felt what we are doing to the air first hand, and it isn’t good.

Interactions with drivers were pretty minimal. I did get buzzed a few times — whether intentional or not is up for debate. It is a bit off-putting when motorists don’t give bicyclists the 3 feet required by law.

I had only one person yell at me, and it was on the last day of my challenge, on the way home:

I was at a red light, a turn lane to my right while in the bike lane. A middle-aged man rolled his window down and smugly said, “Siiiide waaaaaalk.” To which I replied, “Is for walking.” He went on his way, the light turned green: end of interaction. I expect I’ll have more such encounters as the year goes on, but I really thought I would have more negative interactions than I actually did.

I definitely gained strength as a rider. Before I started in February I was pretty consistently getting dropped on the group ride I enjoy on Sundays. I am starting to see definition in my abs, and I finally can see the full outline of that “teardrop” muscle above my knee. Everyone has noticed that I’m much thinner, and look much healthier.

What really matters, however, is that I’ve influenced people to get outside more; my relationships are stronger than they have been. Professionally, I am now the guy that rides his bike (good or bad). My network has grown. I’m in better shape than I have been in 15 years.

If you have the means, and the ability, get out and ride. Even one day of feeling the wind in your hair can change your life for the better.

Read the original story here.

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