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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring is the best time for bike riding in Memphis

Spring is the best time for bike riding in Memphis
By:  Michael Lander

With appropriate cycling attire, cyclists in and around Memphis
can ride throughout the year, but the spring is arguably the best
time of all to ride with longer days, lower humidity, and
temperatures averaging in the 60's and 70's.
What's not to love about spring?  It's that time of year that many of us cyclists in Memphis, look forward to, especially after a long, cold, and seemingly endless winter. 

With longer days, warmer temperatures, and with only the slightest amount of humidity, it provides about the most ideal conditions that a cyclist could possibly ever hope for. 

It is made all the better with everything coming back to life and there are few things that are any prettier than riding by and seeing jonquils sprouting from the ground and blossoms on azaleas, tulip poplars, aristocrat and chanticleer flowering pear, dogwood and cherry trees.

Yes, with all the beauty that nature has to offer, spring has got to be the favorite time of year for most of us who truly love and appreciate the magnificence of it all.   

Granted, there is a downside to having everything come back to life because that means the arrival of pollen, which is dreaded about as much as, if not more than,  an unwelcomed house guest.  

Pollen usually makes its debut sometime in April and quickly comes out in full force, coating just about everything that doesn't move, and wreaking havoc and leaving many in and around Memphis with a common malady of allergy and sinus problems. 

As bad as that might be, however, it is almost impossible not to look at the bright side of what springtime brings to those who enjoy being outside, and with all things considered, the good definitely outweighs the bad.

Spring is not only one of the prettiest times that we have in Memphis, but it also holds the promise and the beginning of what of most cyclists hope will be another great year of riding.

Even though there are some diehards out there who will ride throughout the winter months, for the most part, the majority of us are usually exiled to the stationary bike or the gym, which may be seen as a modern day medieval torture chamber. 

While indoor workout equipment may be an effective way for staying in shape throughout the dreary and miserably cold days of winter, it by no means comes anywhere close to eclipsing a bike ride outdoors, particularly in the spring.

If you weren't able to take advantage of a few unseasonably warmer days throughout the winter, come March, you are probably as eager as a kid at Christmas time about pulling our bike down off the rack, dusting it off, and getting it ready for some long-anticipated bike rides.

Like most cyclists, this usually doesn't require much more than just pumping some air into the tires, making sure that everything is tight, that the chain is lubricated, that the lights are working, and that you have everything that you need, like a fully equipped tire repair kit. 

This is also the time that you might want to consider trying to get a tune-up if you didn't already take care of that at the end of the season months before.

As for those who are thinking about getting into cycling, spring may be the best time to actually start.  If you are not already in shape, it takes awhile to get your muscles and your body accustomed to the workout that you can get on a bike.  It is also better to do this when the weather is more comfortable and it is not adding to the discomfort level that you might otherwise be feeling.

Trying to begin in the heat of summer can be a little discouraging for some, but if you begin earlier in March or April, you can work past some of the sore muscles and you can then acclimate yourself to the temperatures and the humidity as they steadily rise in the summer months of June, July, and August.

With the beautiful scenery, the ideal weather, and the extremely pleasant temperatures, almost nothing is better than spring time in Memphis.  As a cyclist, it just doesn't get any better than riding this time of year, and it is always what you wish it felt like in the rest of the year.

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