May 9, 2003-
My exercise regimen has somewhat changed. About a year ago I purchased a Weider weight rack and bench with Olympic barbell, as well as a used dumbell rack with a full set of dumbells. I also have a dip station/pull-up tower. I lift weights 2-3 times per week, and during the first three months, I gained about 10 pounds of muscle, and started moving the weight from my waist to my upper body. My wife liked the change, and friends and family noticed as well.
I also walk regularly and I still ride my recumbent bike. Last summer I rode the entire way across Iowa on RAGBRAI XXX. You can visit http://www.ragbrai.org for some more details. I camped each night in a small dome tent just big enough for me and my gear - rain or shine - and I rode each day the whole way - rain or shine. We had two days of rain, including the last day, which had rain from about 2 a.m. until a little after noon. It was a great experience which is hard to describe or appreciate unless you have done it. I'll do it again, but not this year. I need to use my time off for a family vacation this summer.
Feb. 25, 2001-
I am currently in the process of "gearing up" for Spring! Since I enjoy bike riding, particularly medium distance (40-80 miles) group rides, this generally means a mix of strength training and cardiovascular exercise.
My current exercise machine of choice is the TotalGym 1000. I felt this was a steal when I bought it at Target for $120. I really want a BowFlex, but since it starts at $700, I opted for the cheaper machine! You have probably seen ads for the TotalGym featuring Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley and wondered whether it worked. It does! You would be surprised at how many different exercises you can do, how quickly you can change from one to the next, and how effective it is. Plus, my kids can use it, and there are no weights to deal with.
This machine is perfect for toning and strength training without bulking up unnecessarily. Even though mine is a cheaper version of the one they sell on TV, it works fine.
I also have a TravelTrac stationary trainer that I hook my recumbent bike to for cardio and leg work. It's not too bad when you can watch TV or listen to the stereo, but moderation is the key to avoiding burn-out. Thirty minutes or so is about all I can stand without getting bored. I always make sure I have the fan blowing right on me so I don't overheat, and I change pace frequently.
My pride and joy is my V-Rex recumbent! You can see a picture of the newer model, very similar to mine, at www.rans.com/Bikes. Mine has a red/yellow/orange paint job, and has the old style Rans seat, which I find VERY comfortable. I decided to either switch to a recumbent or quit riding after experiencing severe neck and shoulder pain, tingling hands, and intermittent numbnessin other areas. After reading and researching, I found that I was not alone. An article in Bicycling Magazine helped me make the decision. Now, I'm not saying that recumbents are for everybody, but it was the best decision for me.
I decided on the V-Rex after some extensive research on types of recumbents (there are MANY different designs), and test-riding several of them. The V-Rex was the only choice for me - it is a blast! My bike came from a Texas bike shop, and I bought it used, sight unseen, based on the dealer's description, and quite a few conversations with the owner of the bike. It arrived via UPS and was exactly as described.
The benefits and pleasures of riding a recumbent bike have made news recently. If you are interested in seeing a huge collection of links to recumbent manufacturers and articles, check out recumbents.com or National Bicycle Greenway. There are also many home-built plans and supplies for those who want to build their own dream machine.
Bicycling magazine has some very useful articles on training and nutrition.