Free bicycle turns into passion for city biking. Here’s how you can get hooked, too – Twin Cities

A year ago, I could barely pedal 10 miles on my bicycle, and small hills seemed like mountains. A more-distant destination like Stillwater might as well have been Saturn.

But earlier this month, I pulled off that very ride from my St. Paul home to downtown Stillwater and back — a hard but enjoyable 50-mile odyssey with a couple of buddies.

Hello, Stillwater.

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On Saturday, I upped my mileage to 75 miles on a grueling but glorious ride to Prior Lake by way of Chaska’s Valleyfair.

Valleyfair!

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And next June I plan to participate in the 2018 Bike MS: MS 150 ride from Duluth to the Twin Cities, with two 75-mile stages over a long weekend.

What in the heck happened to me? My friends are agog, and I share their amazement.

I stumbled into city biking by accident, when a new car my wife and I bought came with a free-bicycle offer. I did not envision doing much with the bicycle, but I climbed aboard, started pedaling, got addicted and felt my body gradually grow more powerful.

I have not been in this kind of shape in decades — perhaps ever. It takes a lot to make me winded now, and I have to remind myself to drink water because I can go for miles and miles without seeming to need it.

My wife has taken to admiring my increasingly muscular legs — Oh, yeah.

I offer my tale as inspiration for those seeking to get in shape, and thinking that biking might be the way to do it. I am not positioning myself as some kind of bicycling guru. I am still new to this and have a lot to learn.

But I want to share what I have experienced so far … and to show you how you can get hooked on city biking. Your significant other might soon be sneaking more looks at you, too.

GET A BIKE (NOTHING FANCY)

Bicycles can be expensive — costing thousands of dollars, in many cases, which I can’t afford. You can get sweet rides…

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