Sciencey people tell us that all we have to do in order to live to be a thousand is to engage in 20 minutes of moderate exercise three times a week. Nonetheless, it is very hard to go for a bike ride when you have less than a 2-3 hour window of ride time.
First of all we’re not really convinced that short rides are worth doing. We even have a phrase, “junk miles,” to describe bike time that isn’t “any good.” This is ridiculous from a health vantage point. Five or ten junk miles are scientifically-esque proven to help you reach 1,000, much more so than a hundred miles of couch intervals watching the teevee.
But the biggest reason not to do short jaunts is that when you are a cyclist, as opposed to a normal person who simply rides a bike, getting ready for the ride takes a lot of time. In order to put on your kit, find the matching arm warmer, air up your tires, make sure you have your computer, clip on your lights, put on your shoes and clatter out the door it takes at least fifteen minutes.
If your water bottle is empty, or you have to set Strava on your phone, or you forgot your driver license, or you need some food, basically, anything, then it takes twenty minutes. If you have to ride in weather, it’s half an hour.
There is something psychological that won’t let you spend thirty minutes getting ready for a twenty-minute ride. It seems completely useless, especially when it takes another fifteen minutes back home to undress and stow things away.
I didn’t have time for a long ride today but I had time for twenty minutes. I kitted up and went out, and then because I was already on my bike, sneaked in another twenty. That gave me forty minutes of exercise. I worked up a sweat, climbed some hills, and although it didn’t feel like a “real ride,” in fact it was.
Couple more rides like that and I will be right up there with Methuselah, or maybe even Tim Gillibrand.