How a Month of Biking Taught Me More About My City Than the 3 Years That I've Lived Here

As the month of April rolls around, there must be something in the air or just the thought that summer is actually within grasp that has everyone buzzing. Spring cleaning or being eager to get outside, all things that don't normally happen during the Minnesota winters. So when the 30 Day Gals thought about how we wanted April to pan out, we were all inspired by the word movement to get us movin' and groovin' into spring. Unfortunately as Ginger stated in her post (read here) — Duluth got a late winter. This was a hurdle we weren't mentally prepared for but it allowed me, Calley, to man-up and embrace the cold in a way I haven't done before in the 3 years that I've lived here. 

I must preface — there were days that going outside was impossible. So during those times, I had to rely on my indoor gym + bike. When biking indoors, I found new ways to challenge myself by seeing how far I could go in various time slots or how long it would take me to bike 5 miles. I also accompanied indoor biking with lifting, aka incorporating my powerlifting moves from the month before. Even though I wasn't able to get outside every day, I realized that sometimes the conditions (no pun intended) aren't going to be perfect. Rather, I need to adapt and find ways to still accomplish my "goal" even if I have to alter a few things here and there.  

In case you're wondering, biking outside didn't officially start until week 2, but I'm happy to tell you how it helped me discover Duluth in a whole new way. 

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I was able to find new paths

I've lived here for 3 years now, but there have always been paths that I've seen from the road (and been plenty curious about) that I've never taken by foot or bike. By committing to this challenge, I went down every path I found. Turns out the paths are super easy to get on to thanks to all of the bike signs. One of my now favorite paths took me along the shore of beautiful Lake Superior. It was so secluded from cars, traffic, and even people that I found myself pausing every time I rode past. Even on a gloomy day — I found peace looking at the lake. 

The city's houses have so much to tell

Architecture has always been one of those things that intrigued me. I love looking at old homes and thinking about the story behind them. Duluth is a very historic town and the part of town I live in has some beautiful and big homes along the lake. Even though I see most of them when driving to and from work every day, I've rarely actually slowed down to look at them. Slowing down not only allowed me to spend time looking at things that have been overlooked, but it also made me feel incredibly proud to call the city of Duluth my home.

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I found time to read a book

While biking? Yes! Audiobooks are a thing, and for everyone that has Amazon Prime — it's a benefit of your membership! So use it! I discovered Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan. Normally a story about truth, war, and heartbreaking things like the Holocaust aren't things I normally want to read about in my spare time. However, just like I committed to biking, I committed to this book while biking. In two words, this book has been seriously amazing. It is a true story about an Italian boy who lived through WWII and how the war impacted Italy. Naturally, I don't want to give away the rest of book, but there were times in this story that Pino (the Italian boy) had to deal with hardships I can't even fathom. Hearing about those hardships on my ride made me appreciate my life and my surroundings on a new level — ultimately pushing my legs a little harder to go the distance. So next time you find yourself in need of something to occupy your mind while you bike, try an audiobook to keep you going.

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There are no more excuses to not get outside

As mentioned one too many times, Duluth isn't always the warmest in "spring" — making it that much easier to hibernate indoors. However, this challenge also helped me see how much we use weather as an excuse to not get outside of our comfort zone. Trust me, day one of freezing my buns off (I mean biking), taught me how to dress and not dress for the ride, which in turn led to even longer rides. So if you're braving the cold, don't leave home without a headband, winter hat, face mask, leather gloves, fleece-lined leggings, wool socks, and a wind jacket.

So whatever excuses or challenges are in your way, we'd love to hear what has been your motivation to get out of your winter or midweek slump? Perhaps there's a challenge you've been thinking of taking on that we can help with? Either way we'd would love to hear from you below so comment away...

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