Essentially, gravity is a result of mass. More mass - more gravity. Believe it or not your couch has the greatest mass in the universe. Your refrigerator has the second greatest mass. Don't believe me? See how often one of those two objects pull you into it's orbit. Now do I have your attention?
Improving your health with a bicycle starts by overcoming gravity. And it's not a one time thing, either. Every day you have to overcome the gravity of your couch and get your cycling clothes on, then get your bike outside, then start pedaling away from your house. And you may have to pedal several miles away from your house to get free of the gravitational pull of the couch. I do.
A few days ago, I had decided to ride to Alto Pass and then on to Murphysboro before returning home. It would be a total of about 80 miles with something above 2500 feet of climbing. The road to Alto Pass is Skyline Drive and it is aptly named. When I was ready to start, it had just begun raining. The thought of a 5 hour ride in the rain, with lots of climbing started looking less appealing to me by the minute. I could feel my couch pulling me into it's orbit. So I got on the bike and started riding.
It was cold, about 48 degrees, and windy, about a 15 mph headwind, and raining. With every pedal stroke I wanted to turn around and go home and read about bicycling. But I kept moving away from my house and the couch's gravitational pull. Finally after nearly 10 miles of pedaling, I was free and felt excited about the day's ride. But the next day would bring the same battle.
Today, for instance, I got dressed in my cycling clothes after I returned home from work and grabbed my road bike for a ride. Less than a block from the house my rear gear cable broke. I wouldn't be able to shift gears, and the default gear is the hardest one. I rode back home. My commuter bike was sitting in the rack, but I could feel the pull of the couch. My wife said, "You ARE going to take the other bike and go back out, AREN'T you?" Of course I was.
So I took the heaviest, most cumbersome, totally utilitarian bike I own out for a ride. As I rode, I began to think, my wife was going to work in a few minutes, I could ride a couple of miles then return home and she'd never suspect that I didn't get a "real" ride in. That couch was pulling on me something fierce. So I pedaled harder.
Finally, about 8 miles from the house, I was free. I managed to get in a nice 30 mile after work ride on the "beast" and my health and fitness was maintained if not marginally improved. But tomorrow, I'll face the same struggle. And the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that.
You see, if you want to be healthy, you have to overcome the gravitational pull of the couch. Or you'll have to fake the pictures for the family Christmas card on a sound stage in Arizona. It's your call.