Monday, March 16, 2009

The Walk - Ride Ritual

Have you ever tried to convince yourself that riding is a physical activity akin to exercise? That the calories and fat from a big breakfast would be burned away by a few hours of serious riding? Maybe you believe in flying saucers too.

Age, reason and the medical community sometimes intervenes suggestions to “engage in a little more exercise”. For me it’s taken the form of an early morning walk right out of bed. I picture myself just like Rocky running on the streets of South Philadelphia. I don't drink raw eggs though.

A scooter or motorcycle exists outside the realm of normal. So do many of the riders. Those of us who choose to ride for pleasure, transportation, economy or other reasons are decidedly not among the mainstream that believe four-wheeled vehicles the safe and prudent choice. But being an outsider might make it easier to change. Maybe. Such are the thoughts drifting through my helmetless head as I pass by the Zion Lutheran Church.

Exercise isn’t as much fun as riding a Vespa. Or so I thought. With camera in tow as I move through town it is not unlike my riding. I see things, stop, look around and take pictures. Other than a lack of a convenient scooter to serve as model I’ve found the walks to be rewarding. I had to stop for a moment and ponder a store window display and ask why anyone would want a plaster dog when there are so many perfectly good real dogs around.

I passed through the stand of pines again this morning at the Military Museum and tried a picture at another angle. I’ll be back.

By the time I turned towards home it was beginning to get light. Still no rain but that could change suddenly.

The ride to work was dry under gray skies. I stopped a few times to make pictures much in the same manner as I did on my walk. It is a satisfying ritual that takes almost no time and just a little additional effort. I just wish they both counted as exercise.


Mike Simmons said...

I want to tell you I really enjoy your photography and writing. I’ve been occasionally lurking on Modern Vespa for about 10 months. I’ve also been keeping an eye your blog. I bought a GTS last July and I’m having a blast riding it to work and for pleasure. I’ve also had a sporadic love affair with photography since childhood. Your blog showing a combination of riding, picture taking and your comments that go along is really nice! It has motivated me to start a blog. I live in Portland, Oregon; I’ll let you know when it’s up and running.

I’ve thought that it’s a shame a 25 mile ride on a scooter/motorcycle doesn’t give the same exercise benefit as on a bicycle. But you’re right, the motorized ride is much more fun.
Keep up the good work.

Stacy said...

Steve, your photo-fu is very strong.

Steve Williams said...

Mike: It may not be the thing for everyone but riding, photography and writing is a perfect creative outlet for me. I'll keep watch on how your blog develops.

As far as exercise goes I will just have to be honest and take the time to do it and not kid myself that I am getting any riding. Unless the Vespa dies and I have to push it a mile or more...

Stacy: Photo-fu. I like it!

hrw115 said...

I find it funny that a guy who doesn't exercise at all - and for all intensive purposes has no taste for regular exercise - can say that riding a vespa is more fun than exercising. :P

cpa3485 said...

Well If it is any comfort or maybe an argument that scooter riding is good for you....

My chiropractor says that riding anything on two wheels is good for the 'core' of your body. Her reasoning is that you have to use certain 'core' muscles in order to be able to balance yourself. Now I know that riding a scooter may not make you break a sweat, but maybe there is at least some validity to what she says.

You also may need to know that my chiropractor is a very attractive woman in her mid 30's and because of that, I believe everything she says!!

American Scooterist Blog said...

Exersize is good! Now that its warmed and we can believe it will continue to stay this way, its time to go out to the shed and bring out the bicycles. My kids are both five and so we ride almost every day once it warms. While its not as strenuous as when one rides alone, I have to say that when the kids are in school I often take a morning ride by myself and at my own pace. Biking is its own reward. Much like scootering or motorcycling but with physical benefit.

I also picked up my sax after a thirteen year haitus. Joined the local classical band and play with them on Monday nights for three hours. I'll miss a week though since the thing just went to the local horn master for a complete repad and tune up.

When I think of how we try to retain our health it seems that we forget exersizing our breathing. I'm no saint when it comes to health care but working the muscles through biking seems to improve more when I combine it with the horn playing that I used to do every other day.

I'm glad to read you're taking steps (pun intended) to improve your health. If you ever played a horn, pick it up for an hour a day and you'll see that all the other activities benefit from this simple and overlooked part of the training regimen.

I don't mean to sound like I think I know something special or sound arrogant. But I know what works. When you can breathe well and deeply you can exersize the rest of the body better.

We tend to measure ourselves by how much we can endure. We only last until we're out of breath.


Pvino said...

I have been a cyclist for over 20 plus years, I ride one of those fancy bikes that cost just as much as a Vespa 250GTi. I fell in love with riding a bike for the longest time before I picked up European mag which a European cycling team trainer needed a scooter to keep in pace and ahead of his Lance armstrong cycling team. I have found great enjoyment on a scooter; I hang my camera around my neck which is friendlier on a scooter than on a motorcycle with a gas tank that bangs on my camera. I do have a stationary cycle at home for my 20 minute spins.

I say keep riding a scooter and walk, jog, run, or whatever that stimulates the cardio-system for at least 20 minutes per day; that is all you need to keep the metabolism active.


irondad said...

Your photos keep getting better and better. They blow me away. I have bowed my head in defeat in every trying to compare.

Walking is good for my thought processes. At least I can let my mind go without worrying about the bike following my mind, if you know what I mean. If only I could actually blog while walking or running my posts would match the high level of your photos.

Steve Williams said...

hrw115: I've had more experience exercising than you realize. It just happened before you were born! :P

cpa3485: I was nodding in agreement until the last part. She could have told you that it was the stuff that made Olympic athletes great and you would have believed her. I think I'll keep walking....*grin*

Harv: Thanks for the words of encouragement. My bicycle stands in the basement ready to go. Maybe I can add it to my walking regimen. I just need to find the right balance of things.

I do have a bamboo flute and I have noticed that I can become winded after using it. How lame is that? I suspect once I learn how to play (and practice) my breathing will improve. Never thought about that.


Steve Williams said...

Pvino: Your suggestion of a mixed bag of exercise activities sounds great.

And I fully understand the advantage of the scooter over the motorcycle if you have a camera hanging around your neck.

irondad: My pictures are just the result of a lot of practice. You know about the benefits of practice. Thanks for the kind words though.

While I can't actually blog while I walk or ride I do think about things. Definitely less while riding but it's still there. And with Twitter I can fill in thoughts while I walk from my phone.

I'm so modern...

Gerhardt said...

Beautiful photos - but here in Paris, thousands of other riders and I ride our scooters to work every morning, come rain or shine. Odd, then, to hear you say that riding one is "outside the normal"! I guess it depends on context - it is certainly part of everyday life here.

Steve Williams said...

Gerhardt: When I wrote the post my head was focused on my experience here in Pennsylvania and the United States where the automobile remains the expected norm for all but those who live in big cities with many mass transit options.

We are a long way from Paris as you describe commuting. I can't get my mind around anything that would pry people out of there cars except high gas prices. And we haven't come close to prices high enough for that yet for a majority of people to abandon 4000 pound vehicles for one that weighs 250.

Thanks for your comments!

taylor said...

These images are great! Thank you for taking us along on your journeys.


driftingfocus said...

That sky is amazing.