Category Archives: Cycling

A Cooler Columbus

An In-Town Tourist Feature:
…because Adventure begins in the heart and Travel starts at the end of your own driveway.

From July 2011

Recent high temperatures and heat advisories have ramped up the cool factor of Columbus’ revamped Bicentennial Park, an anchoring destination along the city’s newest parkway, the Scioto Mile.  A mammoth 15,000 square foot fountain complex offers opportunities for the heat-weary to be misted, sprayed and drenched. Amenities include a new restaurant and restroom/changing area.

A feature of the newly opened Scioto Mile, the park is easily accessible via the Olentangy-Scioto Greenway biketrails. We rode down from north Columbus on a recent weekend and wandered the edges of the splash zone.

I had already carried a camera down the previous weekend but still felt an irresistible urge to photograph the refreshing updates, feeling very complimentary of my hometown all dressed up with its new river park frontage.

It was like seeing a good friend debut a chic new look.  Columbus’ “new look” also includes The Promenade, a riverside corridor lined  with swings, chess tables and fountains with framing views of the city skyline. A very becoming style and comfortable vibe.

I was proud of her.

 

Columbus Things To Do

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Chicago’s Ambassador on Wheels

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Invariably, travel exposes the best and the worst in us. It may also reveal the kindness of a stranger.  As a frequent and grateful recipient of food, tickets, upgrades, help in navigating airports and foreign cities and even dry clothing for a drenched child, I’ve learned that our capacity to help and invest in one another is limited only by our willingness to ask and/or receive.

Last weekend, as my daughter and I biked around Chicago, we impulsively took a shortcut that turned into a meandering detour. The city’s multi-leveled streets can make cross city navigation a challenge, and aware of our error, we wanted to avoid shlepping bikes down stairways to access the Lakefront Trail. So, I called out to a young guy pedaling in the other direction, “Can we get to the lakefront from here?”

He braked and rolled on over. “Well, you really need to…” He paused and smiled. “Just follow me.”

Ten minutes later, after an exhilarating ride through a parking garage and then down, around and under the city streets, he led us into the gated back parking lot of a warehouse building. He pointed to an opening in the fence. “That path will take you right to the lake trail.” We thanked him profusely, knowing he’d gone well out of his way to help us.

“That was really nice,” I commented to my daughter.

She agreed.

And once again, a single person acted as ambassador for an entire city —enhancing Chicago’s image far better than any tourism campaign ever could.

Isn’t that great?

 

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Travel vs Your “Fitness Routine”

Anna Maria; foot in sand

Mark Dilworth is a former Division I athlete, trainer extraordinaire and friend whose fitness and training savvy has been recognized by Stanford University Wellsphere (amongst many others). When he asked me to share how I fit “fitness” into my travels, I sent the following (from California where I was at the time hiking through Yosemite National Park, mountain biking in Mammoth Lakes and… you get the idea… ).

The gym is unfamiliar or even non-existent. Or maybe you’re in a different time zone, struggling against your own body clock.  Whatever the particulars, travel presents unique challenges for the fitness-minded.  More positively however, it can also gift you with some new opportunities to energize and enhance a humdrum routine!

A little research will widen your options from what is available strictly at your hotel.  Fitness offerings there can be as elaborate as a pass to a full scale health club or as paltry as a couple of dumbbells stacked in the corner of a closet-sized room! It’s good to know what you’re likely to find before you start packing. Check local websites for trails and parks.  Details won’t be necessary until you arrive but know your options by getting a visual of area parks and recreation areas.  Many hotels have runner’s maps available at the front desk or with a concierge, but don’t stop there.  A short drive or ride might take you to a more scenic trail that you’ll remember long after the endorphins fade away.

Note:  Before sprinting off into an unfamiliar area ask the right questions: “Are there any areas I should avoid?”  and  “Do locals or other hotel guests typically run this route?”  Carry your cell phone (with the hotel’s phone number in case you get lost) and focus on the details of your new route or trail.  Skip the iPod until you know the area better.

Of course cardio isn’t limited to runningVacation travel can and should be geared around the activities you already love or want to try outHike or run up a mountainside; rent a kayak, a bike or a horse…  Stretch your muscles and your mind with unique experiences.  The best destinations offer a range of flexible options.  You can build easy exercise into city stays by choosing hotels within walking distance of most meals and points of interest.  Plan ahead, and then plan to be flexible.

Weight work is typically harder to arrange if you lack a decent gym.  Have a plan to work with nothing more than your own body if need be.  Print out some new exercises to try in your hotel room. Push-ups and crunches in a multitude of challenging variations can be done anywhere, and playgrounds have monkey bars for pull-ups and chin-ups.  Pack swim goggles and resistance bands to create even more options for yourself.

~And don’t discount the tremendous value of local knowledgeWhere do you think travel books  and websites get their information? I make it a point to ask those I encounter for their personal suggestions and find many to be worth pursuing.  Area residents have directed me to excellent snorkeling spots, challenging trails and even lent us snorkels and hiking sticks!

Business and group travel and traveling with younger children can require extra creativity in achieving even an opportunity for workout time!  -But it’s always worth trying.  A few minutes of something is always better than nothing at all -if only for the fact that you are maintaining a habit of health.  The point is not to replicate your home work-out but to take advantage of what you find at your destination.  Consider it a sampling of the local fitness cuisine.  You can order “the usual” when you’re back at home again.

When travel lands you on a new playing field without all of your usual equipment, forget about your “fitness routine”.   Instead, make it your routine to pursue fitness in all its varying forms.

*Some fun ways to exercise on-the-road: running, swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, climbing, zip-lining, walking, hiking, biking, wind surfing… Fitness has as many “shapes” as we do!

Columbus Things To Do

Hikes through Southern Utah

Cave Adventures

Kayaking with Manatees

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