Friday, January 24, 2014

Women on Bikes Series: Ann Mansfield

So why would a 56 year old, mostly-non-adventurous woman be willing to try a fatbike?
I am basically very motivated to shift my daily "orientation" to being physically as active as I can be.

Everything in the health literature points in the direction of finding ways to consistently integrate physical activity throughout your day to realize your healthiest potential.  I think in order to sustain significant daily physical activity you need to find things that are enjoyable... that you look forward to.

I purchased a new (trail/road) bike last summer.  I rode the new Decorah trail nearly every day and most days twice.

I had not experienced the child-like "lighthearted" feeling of riding trails... I looked forward to getting on the trail every time I could.  

Then came fall and winter.  I'd been intrigued with the fatbikes since Taylor got his bike 2 years ago and then my interest was peaked when I had a conversation with David Bakken after seeing him out on a ride this past fall.


He shared that it was very fun but the part that stuck with me was his description of the work out.  I was very interested in this idea of being able to ride more year round, get a great workout and have it be fun.  

I'm not really an "early adopter" so I encouraged Dan to get one!  At the same time, Decorah Bicycles has been building beautiful fatbikes to rent!

So... it's been a great chance for me to explore the fatbike experience and see what I think.
Amazing!  That's what I think.  I'm a novice rider and have only tried River Trail and the Pines in VanPeenan but it is SO much fun!  Great work out too!  I described the experience of River Trail last Saturday as floating through the woods.  (When I wasn't negotiating a turn or really deep snow... hahaha!)  It was beautiful and delightful.
Upon further conversation I had asked Ann why she chose a bike for physical activity:
“I’m looking for a variety of activities to keep myself interested in maintaining fitness. I walk a lot, snow shoe, cross country ski, hike, ride a stationary bike, and do yoga.”
I asked Ann if she had experienced nervousness when she started exploring trails outside of the paved realm:
“I’ve been nervous to try but my family convinced me that it wasn’t a “speedy” thing. I avoid speed.
The first ride on River Trail was on a trail already made by previous bikers and it wasn’t fast. I realized that it wasn’t scary if I was on certain terrain."
I then asked if Ann’s experiences would branch out into exploring more of the mountain bike trails in the warmer months:
“I think it could. We love the trails, Dan and I walk them weekly if we can. I used to jog them (5 years or so ago) and loved being in the woods in the early summer mornings. I do not see myself trying the “cliffy” places anytime in the near future, but I am realizing there are some that I think I could handle in my comfort zone. That’s been a fun realization.”

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