When I was a kid, having a bike was everything. It meant freedom—freedom to travel, freedom to explore, freedom to see new things and go new places.
Yes, bicycles have a lot in common with RVs—more than you might think. They both enable us to go on adventures and enjoy the beauty of nature. Just like your travel trailer or fifth wheel, bicycles are recreational vehicles, and a great way to get around. That makes them a perfect topic for this new RV Travel column.
Many RVers are also cyclists. And much like the RV industry, there are a ton of choices for your next bike—enough to make your head (and your pedals) spin. There are many factors to consider, often starting with cost. You don’t buy a Class A RV if your budget is $5,000. Similarly, you don’t buy a road bike if you’ll mainly be riding on trails in the woods.
In this column, I’ll help you make decisions on which bike is best for you. I’ll declutter the landscape, and demystify the terminology and confusing aspects of bicycles. I’ll help you understand the differences among bikes, what each type of bike is best suited for, and how bicycles can improve your health, both physically and mentally.
Bicycles are a big part of many RVers’ lifestyles. In fact, they’re buying a lot of ebikes these days, so I’ll put a special emphasis on these battery-powered steeds.
Whether you want an ebike or a leg-powered-only bike, there’s one out there for you. One of the most exciting trends in the bike industry is the specialization that’s occurring. There is no “one-size-fits-all” bike out there. There are bikes for folks who want to bomb down mountains, bikes for people who want to pedal leisurely down oceanfront boardwalks, bikes for people with bad backs who can’t ride a normal bike and need a more standard sitting position (they’re called recumbents). And many, many more.
How I became ‘The Diabetic Cyclist’
A natural question that may have occurred to you by now is, “Why should I listen to this guy? Does he have any idea what he’s talking about?” Hey, I’d ask that question, too.
Here’s a brief bit of background. I’ve been a journalist for 30-plus years. I’ve interviewed Barbara Bush, interviewed a murderer in a Pittsburgh jail, covered Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial, and reported on Microsoft extensively.
In February 2018 I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. At that point, I turned to exercise and dieting to get my condition under control without medication. (You can read more about my story here.)
Within four months of getting on a bike and cutting carbs and sugar, I was off of metformin (typically the medication prescribed for new diabetics). Within eight months, I’d lost about 40 pounds and ridden thousands of miles on my bike.
In the nearly four years since then, I’ve kept the weight off, and reduced my blood sugar levels to a sub-diabetic range. Plus, I feel better than I have in decades.
Cycling has become central to my improved health. What started out as a method of getting in shape has become a joyous activity. Most days, I can’t wait to get on my bike. If I go a few days without riding, I get antsy. Riding provides a crucial escape from the worries of the day, and clears my head. Just like RVing does for you.
For me, riding is magic. I call myself The Diabetic Cyclist because it encapsulates my journey back to good health. Your health may be good or bad; you may be a cyclist now or a wannabe cyclist; wherever you are in your cycling journey, I’d love to be a part of it.
Whether you’re getting on your RV or getting in your RV, that journey starts now.
Keith Ward, a veteran journalist, writes about cycling, health, and the intersection of the two at thediabeticcyclist.substack.com. His newsletter is all about helping you improve your life through improved diet and exercise.
Do you have a bike and enjoy bike riding? If so, tell me about your adventures and your bike in the comments below. Thinking about getting a bike? Tell me what kind you’re interested in!
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