Staging Your Personal Tour de France
You may feel like the most inactive person in the world, but it is possible to achieve your own Tour de France victory.
Be Like Lance continued...
Nonetheless, cycling is a still a great exercise and has its
merits. It doesn't strain the knees, joints, and back to the extent that
running does. In fact, as many runners age, they become cyclists because the
pedaling motion reduces pressure on their knees, says McCormick.
People who bike to work report less stress from having to deal
with traffic and say they generally feel good about themselves. Plus, some
cyclists have the added satisfaction of being friendly to the environment.
If you're still not convinced, consider this: At age 50, Mary
Madison was in the worst shape ever. She suffered from arthritis, complications
from childhood polio, and had the beginning symptoms of emphysema after smoking
for three decades. She did not think she could ride even one mile on the
Fast forward 18 years, and Madison cycles some 2,000 miles from
East Montana to Sacramento, Calif., to her 50th high school reunion. The
retired nurse also made the trip back home. She says doctors now can't find
signs of her emphysema, and her arthritis and complications from polio don't
bother her as much.
What happened? Madison says she just started biking. First, she
did one mile, then two, and then five. Gradually, she worked her way up to
cycling multiday long-distance rides around her home state of Montana.
"When I biked, it was the one thing that gave me relaxation
and help me feel good," says Madison.
Getting Into Biking Shape
To make her cross-country expedition, Madison used biking maps
laid out by the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA). The group offers a network
of relatively safe bike routes (mainly secondary highways and back roads)
through a big chunk of North America. It also provides handy information for
traveling bikers, such as location of campgrounds, bike shops, water holes, and
general weather alerts.
The ACA's mission is to inspire people of all ages to travel by
bike for fun, fitness, and self-discovery. They sponsor 7- to 93-day tours
around the U.S. They also offer tour classes, and, at the very least, give
interested bikers some tips on how to prepare for a trek.