cycling · holiday fitness · holidays

Rediscovering the love of simple bikes: Sam and Susan go for a ride on Bora Bora

Susan and her cruiser!

Cycling, more than any physical activity, sends me back to my youth. Whee! Bikes give kids freedom to get places and to do things, away from the adult world. See here.

Susan and I got a taste of that feeling on this cruise. The ship anchors and we take the tender to shore. But when you get there you’ve got your choice of organized group activities (catamarans, picnics, snorkeling in the reef, visiting vanilla farms) or heading out on your own. We’ve done some of the group stuff but some of the time it feels good to get away from all the people and explore.

The difficulty with heading out on your own is that my legs only take us so far. See here for an update about my knee. And there’s only so much time The beach in Bora Bora, for example, was 7 km from the pier. It was definitely too hot to walk. We could rent a car, but really, no.

Instead twice now we’ve rented bikes. They’re island bikes, the most basic of bikes. They’re cruiser style bikes with back pedal brakes. There are no speeds and no fancy gears. You just pedal and go.

Also, no helmets! Some Americans from the ship scolded us for riding without helmets. We felt like bad kids.But really no one here is wearing a helmet.

At home I have specialized bikes, a bike for each thing. I have a track bike, a fat bike, an aero road bike, another road bike, an adventure road bike that I use for commuting. You get the idea. This is not that kind of biking.

So on Bora Bora we hopped on our bright green cruisers and wheeled away. Whee! I loved riding with the locals most of whom use bikes as transportation. There were bikes with multiple kids hanging onto parents riding into town. Lots of kids riding by themselves too, with no adult in sight.

With no fancy bike shoes we could hop on and hop off at ease. With kick stands we could just set the bike upright and stop to look at roadside stands and festivals.

Yes, there was a fair bit of car and truck and bus traffic on the same road but no one was going anywhere fast. People seemed used to bikes on the road. We felt pretty safe.

Of course we stopped at the beach to swim and to rest! And when we were ready, not when the group was ready or the clock said so, we biked back into town. Freedom. Whee!

fitness · fitness classes · holiday fitness · holidays · walking · weight lifting

Working out onboard, staying active on a cruise ship, part 2

So far here on the ship I’ve found a few fitness options on board. We only have two days out of twelve total when we’re at sea. But when we had one, I wandered around scoping out my options for staying active.

First, there are fitness classes. There’s yoga and spin and social walking/jogging groups.

Second, there’s a salt water pool. I described it as a wave pool (it’s very wavy) but Susan pointed out that it’s likely just the motion of the boat causing the waves. It’s salt water, which I like, and not too warm. I like that. I was worried it would be hot.

Third, there’s the walking/running track above the pool. It’s busy in the morning and there are some serious runners and walkers up there.

Fourth, there is a gym. It’s got some weight machines, two benches, all the dumbbells, treadmills galore, one rowing machine and some elliptical trainers.

So what did I do?

First step, as always, everyday was knee physio in our room.

Second, I did a lot of lifting with dumbbells in the gym. One weird thing is that the ship’s motion is a lot more noticeable when you’re lying on a bench with fifty lbs over your head. There’s a lot of extra stabilization involved.

Third, I jogged in the salt water pool and chatted with some Australian women about the South Pacific. Like, why are you here? Isn’t it warm at home? Aren’t a lot of the birds and plants the same? They were fascinated by the islands and their history and this is a great way to see them.

I’d count this fitness activity on our day at sea as a success.

cycling · holiday fitness · holidays · swimming

Sam bikes on an atoll, sees a shark, and stays active on a cruise ship, part 1

Three photos of Susan and me in the sun and wind

As Tracy blogged earlier today not all travel is alike when comes to fitness opportunities.

This week thanks to the world’s best sister in law I’m in the South Pacific on a cruise. Specifically we’re on this boat cruising around French Polynesia. We’re having a wonderful time.

Here’s the view from our balcony as I write this:

One of my goals for this holiday, since it’s long and it’s warm, is to stay active. I’m also itching to get moving now I’m no longer in constant knee pain. On day 1 that just meant carrying suitcases, flying 14 hours, and doing physio for my knee once we’re ensconced in our cabin.

Day 2 had us anchored off the atoll of Fakarava. What’s an atoll? Don’t worry. I had to look this up too. An atoll is “a ring-shaped reef, island, or chain of islands formed of coral.”

Fakarava is known to be one of the best diving destinations in the world. We weren’t there to dive though and we only had an afternoon to spend on the island. If you have more time here is a handy guide. It’s a fun read.

So what did we do instead? We rented bikes and biked along the paved road the runs along the windward side of the atoll. The bikes were basic cruiser style bikes with baskets. But that didn’t matter. The bikes fit the mood of the place.

We went out with the wind behind us and turned about after about 10 km.

Most people just stuck to the beach-y side of the island but the bikes allowed us to explore a bit more. The two sides of the island looked pretty different.

I was also very excited since this was my first time on a bike since before I knew about my knee injury. I stopped riding outside early this year. Needless to say, there was a very big smile on my face.

Image description: Bike rental shed though even rented from a competitor.

After our bike ride we went for a swim. The water was bright blue and 80 degrees. Just gorgeous.

Image description: Sam lying on her back in the blue Pacific ocean.

Oh, and after we were out of the water two Germans came running over to point out a shark swimming through the coral. My first shark sighting ever.

Today, we’re at sea so I’ll probably hit the boat’s fitness center.

Thanks Susan F for the beautiful photos!