Play is the highest form of research. –Albert Einstein
We all want to have healthier communities. The question for us was how to integrate health in a meaningful way into our outdoor recreation planning process. –Alex Stone, RTCA planner
The morning bicycle ride together is a cool solution for the hot topic of improving public health. It creates an opportunity to breathe fresh air, get the body and mind flowing, and spend time with friends. It stokes that virtuous circle of enjoying outdoor amenities while conserving them.
Dry farmed quinoa, Sebastopol, CA. theguardian.com photo credit: Michelle Davidoff
Saturday morning I biked the Sandia Crest. Beautiful to see so many cyclists out. This time of year cyclists are training for the Ironhorse Bicycle Classic in Durango and summer events to come. The weather was breezy, but that makes you dig deeper and builds up your strength and character. The challenge of adapting to the natural elements enriches the bike life, just like the fluctuations in weather helps crops like the quinoa pictured above become more vibrant.
I met a group of cyclists on the observation platform at the top overlooking Albuquerque. They were having their picture taken. What a unifying accomplishment, getting to the summit of the mountain together. We talked about the progress of bicycle friendliness in New Mexico. It makes it easier to get outdoors, leave the car in the driveway, and get some healthy exercise.
We exchanged names and now we’re connected on Strava. Strava is great for connecting with people, getting ideas for rides, and keeping a log of your routes and rides. It is also good for referencing your times on local climbs. It is not really for competition though, except competing with yourself, trying to improve. Racing your bicycle in a sanctioned event is true competition.
After the ride I recovered with some nice music. Cycling up the Crest is a healthy high, and a great way to make indelible memories with friends and build a sense of place. Then it is time to rest and recover, let the miles sink in. On Monday morning you’ll feel like you did something extraordinary on the weekend, and you’ll come back stronger, ready for the next ride together.
Opening quote from Breaking Down Barriers–Parks and Recreation Connecting with Public Health
Strava is free. All you need is a device with GPS (cell phone). Meet new friends & play.