Thursday, June 30, 2016

Motoring my Way To Better Health!

Throwback Throttle Thursday will (hopefully) be back tomorrow. I really want to do that Northrup F-89 story, but am out of time for the week. So, instead, let’s talk more about motorcycles! Specifically, the unexpected health benefit I’ve found in the couple weeks I’ve been riding and commuting on two wheels.

Here’s the thing. I have a bad fast food habit. Specifically, I have a bad fast food breakfast habit, which has cultivated over fifteen years of commuting. I’ve spent way too much money, and eaten way too many calories, because a McDonalds/Burger King/Taco Bell breakfast is convenient, cheap, and easy to eat while driving. Even with my current and much shorter commute, five minutes to roll through the drive-thru and bolt down a breakfast burrito before I hit the office parking lot is usually less time than actually sitting down to a bowl of cereal and an English muffin, much less actually frying up a couple of eggs or something.

And then there’s lunch. Now I really, really should pack a lunch every day. It’s cheaper, healthier, and since there’s no restaurants or food trucks within easy walking distance, slightly more convenient. Still, there’s plenty of options within a five minute drive, and sometimes I just don’t feel like making a sandwich ahead of time, or containerizing a batch of leftovers.

But now I have the bike, and that equation has changed. Have you ever seen a motorcycle at a drive-thru window? I mean, clearly people have done it, and have the youtube videos to prove it, but it’s not exactly an everyday occurrence. For me, as well, there’s the issue of where to put the paper sack of calories. I have saddlebags on my motorcycle, so that’s easy enough, but accessing them does require dismounting from the bike. And if I have to get off the bike anyway, then I might as well just go inside to place my order, and not paddle through the drive-thru lane.

But now we’re into convenience issues. That five minute drive-thru stop now takes longer, because I have to park, get off the bike, go inside, order, come back outside, put the food in a saddlebag, start up again, and roll out. So although I’ve done it a couple of times in the past couple of weeks, my fast food breakfast consumption is way down.

Lunch is a whole different problem. Breakfast, at least, I’m already dressed, since it’s on the way to work, but lunch? I ride ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time) so “let’s go out for lunch” means “Hang on, let me change into my riding pants, then don jacket, gloves, helmet, and boots” before heading out to my bike. Actually, if I’m going with a group, I’ll probably just catch a ride from someone, but if I’m going alone, all that gear is a necessity, and turns a quick 15 minute run through the nearest drive-thru into a 30 minute mission that’s consumed half my lunch break! I’ve done that precisely once, and that was probably enough.

The health benefit is pretty simple, really. I’m eating better, and cheaper, basically because I’m lazy. Score one for basic human nature! Let's be honest here, should I be hitting the gym, running, or getting some other kind of physical exercise regularly? Absolutely. But there's also a saying that goes "You gain fitness in the gym, and lose weight in the kitchen." Improving my diet is a good place to start.

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