Nike nailed it way back in 1988 when the sneaker company came out with its now-famous slogan—Just Do It! Anyone who’s ever agonized over lacing up a pair of running shoes, trudging off to the gym, or jumping into the pool knows exactly what that ubiquitous tagline is all about. No matter how tired, wired, or uninspired you are about starting your exercise routine, you simply just have to do it, even force yourself if that’s what it takes. And more times than not, once you get going, you’re so happy you did.
It’s much the same deal when it comes to riding a bicycle, but with a couple of twists and turns. Most of us learned to ride a bike when we were little kids, then reveled in the joy and freedom for years—at least until we got our driver’s license. Getting back in the saddle again as an adult, though, can be tough. There are lots of excuses: “I don’t have a bike anymore.” “It’s too dangerous on the roads around here.” “Do I have to wear a helmet?” “I forget how.”
Well, let’s dispel that last one right off the bat. Riding a bike again, even if you learned how decades ago, is—as the saying goes—as easy as riding a bike. Just hop on, start turning the pedals, and it comes back to you in a flash. Just ride!
Getting a new bike doesn’t need to be difficult either, though most experts suggest shopping for one at a bona fide bicycle shop vs. the big-box stores. “You may pay a bit more at a shop, but the quality of the bikes is generally better,” says Chris Zane, the founder and owner of Zane’s Cycles in Branford. “And getting your bike serviced, anything from fixing a flat tire to replacing gears, is the real value of a bike shop.”
Find out for yourself this weekend during Zane’s ongoing Bigger Wheel Sale, where everything in the store is on sale at discounts up to 50%. For years, Zane’s held its annual sale for one weekend in early April. “But with the unpredictability of the weather around here at this time of year, we decided to stretch it out for the entire month,” says Tom Girard, director of retail operations.
Zane’s offers all types of bikes at a wide range of prices—from $10,000 road bikes just like the ones pros race in the Tour de France to beach cruisers for a few hundred dollars. Representing top bike companies such as Trek, Specialized, Raleigh, and Pinarello, Zane’s sells road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, city bikes, cruisers, and plenty of kids models. “We’ll even set you up on a tandem bike,” Girard states.
No parent would let their child ride a bike without wearing a helmet these, so that adult excuse is no excuse. Check out the variety of comfortable, and good-looking, helmets at Zane’s and “get over it,” to quote another sage piece of advice.
So that leaves only the too-dangerous reason for not riding—and brings us back to Just Do It! This Sunday morning, April 24 at 10:00 a.m., is the perfect opportunity to get over those jitters. Zane’s is hosting a recreational group ride for anyone 12 and older. Bring your own bike, and helmet, and join in on a relaxing 10-mile ride from the store, around non-busy roads in Branford, and back. “The pace will be slow and steady,” Girard guarantees, “and the weather promises to be beautiful.”
If you’re among those who haven’t ridden a bike in a while, don’t let that hold you back. Toward assuaging such fears, Bicycling magazine recently published a helpful article on its website entitled “How to Prep for Your First Bike Ride.” It starts by saying, “Whether you’re setting out alone or in a group, here’s what to do to guarantee you’ll be hooked on two wheels.”
To borrow some terrific tips from author Caitlin Giddings:
- Find a bike that fits you. The most important elements are the height of the seat and reach to the handlebars. The experts at Zane’s can set you up properly.
- Prepare your bike. Check that tires are properly inflated, brakes work, and the chain is lubed.
- Make sure your helmet is properly adjusted. Not too loose, not too tight. Also, dress for the weather, and roll up long pants so they don’t get caught in the chain.
- Review the rules of the road. Ride with the traffic and use hand signals when turning so car drivers know what you’re doing.
- Bring snacks and water. Even on a 10-mile ride, you should drink water or a sports beverage. You may not get hungry, but if you do, you’ll be glad you packed an energy bar or other fit-in-your-pocked munchable.
- Celebrate your success. Once again, if you Just Do It, you’ll be really happy afterward—and want to ride your bike again and again.
The moral of this story? Just ride!
Zane’s Cycles is located at 330 Main Street in Branford. For more details about Sunday’s recreational ride, the Bigger Wheel Sale, and directions to the store, call 203-488-3244 or visit their website, zanes.com.