Cycler's Confession
  Kurt Ellingson 12:00 AM
As each day passes, I am that much closer to the cycling trip that will take me across Canada this summer. In fact, as of this writing, it is a mere 58 days until I leave! I am fully aware of the importance of training, but since the purpose of my ride is to raise money for a charity, I have been able to avoid thinking about the actual biking aspect by keeping busy with various fund raising projects and promotional events – until now! It is only in the past few weeks that I have really started to think about training, and I realize that for each day I sit around and think about it, I put off an entire day's worth of preparing my body. Nonetheless, I am human, and I will be the first to admit:

There are some days I just don't feel like biking - At all.

Now, biking isn't just something I do for recreation. Like many folks in Vancouver, my bicycle is also my main method of transportation. Because I teach and work in various areas of the city, my average commute can range anywhere from 25 to 40 km per day. On a day off (which is a rarity), I will usually have to travel at least 10 km just to accomplish the simple errands of my daily life. In other words, there never really is a day where I am not required to be riding whatsoever.

However, on the days where I am only required to travel a short distance, I like to find ways to change up my fitness routine. To keep things "fresh”, while continuing to build the strength and endurance I require for my trip, I head to the park for a fun and energetic work-out.

Here is the circuit I created this week using the various play structures, paths and benches at my favourite park. Enjoy!

  1. Run to the park (5-10 minutes). Warms up body and gets cardiovascular system ready for work-out.
  2. Perform approximately 20 walking lunges (6 meters) along side of the community center: From standing with hands on the hips, step one foot approximately one meter ahead of the other, like you are taking a long stride, and bend both knees to a lunge. Your back knee should be about 2 inches from the ground, and your front knee does not go over your toes. Keep your upper body still. Works entire lower body and core.
  3. Perform 10 bench dips. Sitting on the edge of a bench, place your hands on either side of your hips with the fingers pointing forward. Walk your legs away from the bench, either with knees bent and feet flat on the ground about hip distance apart (easier) or legs fully extended and heels on the ground with the legs together(harder). Slide your bum off of the bench and bend your elbows 90 degrees. Press your body back up. Make sure your arms stay parallel to eachother and don't over-bend or hyper extend your elbows. Works back of arms.
  4. 4) Perform 10 bench push ups. Place your hands on the back of the bench a bit wider than shoulder distance apart. Walk the feet back until you are in a plank position. Bend the elbows like a push up, and straighten, without locking, the elbows back to a plank. Works biceps and chest.
  5. Hip exercises: Lean over and place your hands on the back of the bench. Ensure your spine is straight, and bend your knees if you need to. Lift your right leg directly out to the side and lower down. Repeat for 5 reps. Continuing with the right leg, take our right leg directly behind you. Lower down and repeat for 5 reps. Repeat on other side. Works hips and glutes.
  6. Repeat exercises 3, 4, and 5 for one or two more sets.
  7. Perform 20 walking lunges away from bench.
  8. Monkey lifts: At the play structure, hold onto the monkey bars and let your legs dangle below you. Without moving your upper body, bend your knees and lift your thighs towards your chest. For more of a challenge, keep legs straight, and lift legs 90 degrees straight ahead of your body. Repeat 10 times, for 2 or 3 sets, taking a 60 second break in between. Works abs and stretches arms.
  9. Stretching on the grass: Take 10-15 minutes to cool down and stretch. Make sure to stretch the arms, the legs, the hips and the chest and hold each stretch for 30 – 60 seconds.
  10. Light jog back home (5-10 minutes). Cools down the body.

* The suggestions given in the above article are not meant in any way to be taken as medical advice or in place of a physician's course of treatment. Please consult your doctor before beginning a new fitness regimen, like yoga, and always respect the limitations of your own body!

* Interested in learning more about my ride this summer? Check out "The Moon Cycle” page on facebook, or email me at

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