Yesterday, I had my first long'ish bike ride using the local bikeshare bikes. Shira went off to the gym for an hour, and I hit the road.
I managed to cover around 9 miles in about an hour. Far more than I would accomplish while running, though for a real cyclist, probably not much of a feat.
I spent time in bike lanes (which I now appreciate more than ever), in traffic, on the sidewalk, and for much of the ride, on trails. In many respect, the trails were more treacherous than the road. With runners and walkers to dodge, and bike traffic whizzing by, and a narrow strip of asphalt to work with, it's a miracle there aren't more accidents. Of course, this was mostly my own dang fault, as I managed to get myself on the Mount Vernon trail near DCA airport, which even I know is usually quite congested. I should have stuck to 4 Mile Run trail, which in my experience, has less traffic.
This was definitely a mental workout more than a physical one. I did a couple of relatively small hills, and found that the Bikeshare bikes did managed to let me up them (leveraged all 3 speeds, baby!) and man, was that a workout. But, I felt like I was comfortably cruising along for most of the ride. I guess they aren't called comfort bikes for nothing. On the mental side, there was always some obstacle I needed to keep an eye out for. I can definitely see some advantages to throwing the bike in a car, driving into the country, and taking a nice relaxing cruise where traffic/other bikers aren't going to be in your face.
All in all, though, this was a lot of fun. I'm not sure substituting an hour of biking for an hour of running is going to make sense from an exercise perspective -- but from a good-times perspective, this was a no brainer.
Here's the route I covered:
View A First Longish Bike Ride in a larger map
If you haven't tried the bikeshare setup yet, it's definitely worth a shot.