Well friends, we’ve made it to the final giveaway in the Read My Hips Summer GiveaSway! Hope you’ve enjoyed reading snippets from my memoir Read My Hips, as well as learning about some fantastic products to enhance your life.
Before I get to this week’s book excerpt and prize, let’s announce the winner of last week’s giveaSway: a Black Ice Cooling Collar and $100 in plus size fashions from AlwaysForMe.com. And the lucky winner is…
Tammy H. from Pickerington, OH! Congrats, Tammy!
Last time we met, I wrote about being a former exercise hater, and the importance of entering into any new activity or fitness program gradually. There’s nothing helpful or healthy about getting all fired-up and gung-ho about a new physical fitness plan, only to burn out a week later and spend the next three years shuddering at the sight of clean new cross-trainers.
I’d like to talk about exercise again this time, but only briefly. I just want to share with you how bicycling played such an important part in leading me gently into a life of healthy activity.
Here’s an excerpt from my memoir Read My Hips, specifically from a chapter called “Gym Dandies”:
I wasted a lot of years believing myself incapable of anything athletic, and so I sat back on my butt and never tried.
But a Christmas gift from an optimistic ex and a decision to move to a beach town changed everything.
You see, an old boyfriend gave me a lovely red beach cruiser bicycle, complete with a wicker basket and a pretty flower-patterned bell. It sat in basement storage in my former Manhattan apartment building for about eight years, rusting. I believed I was too weak to hold myself up, that my butt was too big to sit on the seat, the streets too crowded with unforgiving traffic to make it safe for a trembling wreck of a beginner like me. Upon moving to an idyllic oceanfront community in New Jersey, where leisurely bicyclists on cheerful pastel cruisers is an uplifting, everyday sight, I decided to climb aboard the old red bike and give it another try.
Yes, it hurt at first. My legs were stiff and unsteady. And in a bona-fide biblical-type miracle, my bicycle seat managed to locate bones buried deep within my abundant ass and pressed them to a point of pain.
But there were also intoxicating oceanic breezes that cleansed me as I rolled through them, feeling like a sun-burned infant diving with the grace of a porpoise into a pool of cool milk, my soul sighing.
I wanted to do it again.
And there was adventure in this biking thing! There was curiosity – satisfied! Surrounding towns became increasingly familiar as I sailed down little-known side streets, past impeccable art deco mansions and shabby seaside bingo halls lost in time. I discovered farmer’s markets and yard sales. And I felt like I could fly.
I went back and rode again.
What I love so much about biking is that despite the hard work my heart, lungs and muscles may be doing to keep me moving forward, my other senses are so deliciously engaged that I don’t even notice the strain. There’s color, there are smells and surprises, there’s the caress of air across your skin, the landscape keeps changing to entertain you.
And you can start at even the most broken-down, miserable place. You can start with a bicycle that’s aided by a small electric motor that kicks in when you need it (like going uphill), and ditch the motor when you get stronger. You can choose to bike only on flat surfaces to start. You can choose to bike for just two minutes — take a spin around the block, then let out a vitorious yelp.
And I’ve found with cycling that the body responds pretty quickly. In other words, you may surprise yourself and find yourself trekking triple or quadruple the distance in less time than you thought possible.
If the idea of biking for fitness interests you, but you’re intimidating because of your large body size, don’t be. There’s a bike for every body. For example, Super Sized Cycles in Vermont designs bicycles specifically for bigger, heavier bodies. Their web site offers bicycles, tricycles, electric assisted cycles, bikes for those who are both heavy and tall, and bicycles strong enough to support 550 pounds.
When you do take to the road on those two wheels, you’ll want to be as comfortable as possible. Think about investing in some well-chosen pieces of cycling wear, like plus size and big-and-tall bicycle wear from Aero Tech Designs.
The right bike wear can keep you cool, prevent skin chafing, and help you move with greater ease. They can even make your nether regions more comfortable on your bicycle seat, providing built-in padding where you’ll need it most. (And you thought you had enough already!)
To help get you started on a brand-new autumn biking adventure, the generous folks at Aero Tech Designs are awarding one lucky winner a $100 gift certificate to their online store!
OK, so how can you enter to win?
Just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org including:
– your name and mailing address, and – write the phrase PLUS SIZE BIKING in the subject line of your e-mail. – send the e-mail by midnight EST on Sunday, September 18, 2011. EXTENDED! September 25, 2011 Other things you should know:
– If you entered to win a different prize in the Read My Hips Summer GiveaSway, you can still enter to win this prize. Even if you were a winner before.
– I won’t share your e-mail or mailing address with anybody else, except, in some cases, the prize provider, for purposes of prize delivery.
– By entering, you agree to give me the right to use your first name and last initial on my blog, on Facebook, Twitter, and via e-mail to others.
– One winner will be selected at random.
– Winner will receive his or her prize by mail within 30 days after winner is announced.
– I will announce the first name and last initial of the winner on my blog on Monday, September 19, 2011 September 26, 2011, and winner will also be notified by e-mail.
Meanwhile, keep those hips swaying, take deep and lusty breaths, strut your stuff, and always remain willing to get a little bit smarter every day. Oh — and read wonderful, eye-opening books!