Get Back in the Saddle

With the town still nursing its annual marathon hangover, it’s easy to forget the rest of us who choose to push pedals instead of pounding pavement. As much as we have a love affair with our marathoners, we also have so many of you who opt for a day of riding over running. Tis the season for charitable rides of 50, 100 and 200 miles. These rides provide great motivation for so many to either burn calories without the unwanted wear and tear that running can have or as a means to cross train for similar reasons.

However, it’s not as easy to burn calories riding as it is while we are running. Running requires you to expel much more energy, hence the reason why the Pan Mass Challenge of 192 miles isn’t a foot race. That said, this and other rides are no easy feat.

When considering the idea of biking for exercise over running, you must first start with what the equivalent of a running shoe is to a runner, your bike. The right bike will make a world of difference and the wrong bike will cause a world of hurt. If you have never been fitted for a bike, and are serious about riding, avoid Target and Walmart when selecting your new whip. Yes, you will find a cheap bike. However, the money you save will be spent on caring for your injuries. The right bike, fitted for your specific needs is worth every dime. Most bike shops will have experts that will properly fit you to the bike (Sorry, no more bike choices based upon flames or tassels).

Next, consider the course you will be biking on. For instance, I typically bike from Newton to Copley. It’s about an 8 mile ride that runs along the Charles River. The plus side is that it’s a clear safe path with only a few intersection to contend with. The downside is that it’s relatively short and flat, so it doesn’t require a ton of energy. I compensate for this by going for more speed. I like to race my previous times. This makes it a great workout. Alternatively, you may need to drive to a path or more rural area to find some safe and challenging roads to conquer.

If you are looking to burn calories, wear a heart rate monitor. Aim to work at 70-75 percent of your maximum heart rate for most rides. If you don’t want to invest in a monitor, used the perceived exertion scale instead. On a scale of 1-10, you should feel like you are working at a level 7. You should be breathing deeply, but not exhausted or out of breath.

Last and certainly not least, have the appropriate gear. Invest in a pair of padded bike shorts. Trust me, you will thank me later for this. Although there is no way to avoid the inevitable saddle soreness we all experience when starting out, padded shorts make a world of difference. You should invest in a good pair of sunglasses as well as a pair of gloves. ALWAYS wear a helmet. I don’t care how silly you think you may look. I can assure you that you will look even more foolish in a pine box. Always remember to share the road wisely with runners and cars. This means you should keep your tunes to a low volume to hear those around you. Understand the rules of the road as they apply to cyclists as well as passing others on private paths (ON YOUR LEFT).

I hope these tips help get you ‘in gear’ for the season. BE SAFE. BE CAREFUL AND BE CONSIDERATE TO OTHERS.


aids ride willOur very own Will McNiece will be riding in this year’s Aids Ride. Please help us in supporting him and this important charity.

Hello, My name is Will and I’ve been a practicing LMT at the Boston Bodyworker for the past two years.

In September, I will be participating in a one day bike ride from Boston to Provincetown. This is to raise funds and awareness for a charity that is close to my heart, AIDS ACTION COMMITTEE, New England’s oldest and largest AIDS service organization.

100% of your donations go directly to the charity to help individuals who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Monies raised will help cover medical costs, counseling, legal consultation, safer sex kits and even provide stock for the kitchen at their homeless youth drop in center.

Donations can be made online and additional information about the bike ride and charity can be found at:

In you have any questions please feel free to contact me at [email protected]

Thank you so much for your time and generosity
Will McNiece (Cyclist #80)