Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Time to ride

Date: 22
Mileage: 30.4
May Mileage: 317.8
Temperature upon departure: 53

Just the other day, I was complaining to a friend about the difficulties of training for a bicycle endurance race - mainly, finding the time to put in any significant mileage.

"Most weekdays I have about two hours, tops," I said.

She stopped me there. "Wait - exactly how much time do you spend riding each week?"

I thought about it, "Taking into account the weekends, probably 12 to 15 hours. I wish it was closer to twenty."

"Twenty hours?" she said and rolled her eyes. "You might as well get a part-time job." Then she said something about her family that implied that she was too busy having a life do something as frivolous as ride a bike for 20 hours a week.

I do understand that I'm blessed with a lifestyle more frivolous than others. I'm single, no kids, unhindered by debt. Regardless, I'm still not rolling in unmitigated free time. I do have a full-time job that can reach 50 hours a week. I have my part-time, freelance projects that I tend to push on the backburner. I have to change the cat litter box once in a while.

So, even for me, it can challenge to carve out time for a bike ride. So - how to make the time? The best thing I ever did for my free time was move to an apartment that didn't get TV reception of any kind. I have nothing against TV. I actually like it. But not having the option to watch forced me to give it up cold turkey. I've been virtually TV-free for a year and a half. I even have to option to watch network channels now, but I don't. Truth is, I don't even miss it. I highly recommend this lifestyle change.

Minor changes help, too. Another thing I don't do is cook ... much. Granted, I do have someone hanging around that is more than happy to cook up a fresh halibut dinner for me. But when I lived alone, I ate a lot of salads and sandwiches and cold cereal. I survived. And I didn't have to spend as much time doing dishes or grocery shopping.

Ask yourself small questions: Do I really need to make the bed every day? Am I really the type of person that needs eight hours of sleep every night? Can't I just feed the cat twice as much every other day? If I sold my car and bought a faster bike, wouldn't that actually save me time? Maybe I can get one of those automated voice activation systems to answer the phone.

All it takes is small changes. Soon you, too, can carve out 20 hours a week to ride without people even noticing or thinking you have a deeply embedded problem. What's that? You think that these suggestions are sign of a deeply embedded problem? Well ... hmmmm ... I guess I should probably get some sleep now.


  1. Sleep -- it's over rated. When I got divorced and turned into a grad student -- I gave up TV -- for six years. And I gave up sex for six, no -- two weeks. And sleep for two years. 4 hours a night.

    In the book -- The Laurel's kitchen Bread Book -- is a great article -- either the forward or the preface -- called Always a Choice, by bronwyn Godfrey, which talks about cool lifestyle choices -- and how they might have a small (or large) impact.

  2. Ladybugs do not eat poeple or suck their blood Jill, in fact, they do nothing, but eat smaller bugs.

  3. Take pity on your friend. She's jealous of you.

  4. I've gone from having satellite TV to 1.5 channels of TV (1 channel plus sometimes a second one) to no TV. And I don't miss it. And I have more free time for important things like hiking, walking the dogs, writing, etc. I noticed the biggest improvement in having more time when I went to watching 5 hours of TV a week to 0 hours.

    Carolyn H.

  5. It's all about priorities. If you want to endurance race, you find the time; if you want to watch American Idol, again you find the time. I prefer the former, so I rise at 4:30am, ride for a couple hours, return home in time to rack the bike, wake the family, sneak out for a run while they're getting ready for the day and return again to see them off. I then sneak off to the pool over my lunch break for my last workout of the day. That leaves me hours in the evening for family time, dog time, book time and even the occasional TV show (NO, not American Idol). And I sleep like a baby. Priorities, priorities...

  6. Oh yeah, keeping your heart in good condition without wrecking your joints is a terrible waste of time ... I'm so sure.

  7. Good God, you people would never survive in the South, what with all that hustling and bustling (what is bustling?)

  8. No tv here I try and get 30+ hours in on the bike... sometimes its ez around town rides sometimes its going on evey mt. bike ride that you get invited on during the week =)

  9. There's a group of people that finds lots of time to pursue its hobby. Alcoholics. Back in college, I had this T-Shirt that said something like "We drink more before 9AM than most people do all day". When you consider that lots of drunks somehow manage to lead halfway functional lives, there's no reason that a non-drunk shouldn't be able to do something for 20 hours a week. That's less than 3 hours a day, and less than that on hectic weekdays if you do extra on the weekends. I can confirm that having kids (even just one) can seriously compromise one's "me-time", but I can also point to lots of people I know who routinely waste three or more hours a day through sloth and inefficiency. I, for one, spend too much time reading blogs.

  10. Make the bed every day? Jeez. I haven't made the bed in years.

  11. You're not living a frivolous life just because you're single and don't have kids. You've simply prioritized your life in a different way than the woman you mentioned. I know lots of great moms who get in serious training because they spend time with their kids on their bikes, on the hiking trails and just generally out in the woods and in nature. Sorry, don't mean to rant. But it irks me when I get the same stuff from folks close to me. I don't get irked with them when they tell me they'd like more time to purse the things they enjoy, do I?

  12. I've only been spending 8-10 hours a week on the bike. I'd feel like a slacker, but I'm not training for anything.

    If yesterday is any indication, I'd get a LOT more bike stuff in if I got rid of the internet...

  13. yeah, I spend a lot of time on the internet too. Then I watch some tube.

    Yikes. Oh, did I mention I'm nursing a sore knee? So lazy right now


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