Some thoughts after 3ish years of cycling as an Athena
Some things I wish I could tell myself, when I was just getting started.
1: It does get easier.
When I started I brought my first bike home rode it around my little cul-de-sac and could barely walk because my legs were so jelly-fied. Now I can go 25ish miles before I even have to think about it, and I've gone much farther. It's common here to read "It doesn't get easier, you get faster," which is true, but only after you get past that initial bump. It can suck in the beginning. But not for very long at all.
2: I haven't lost much weight.
Or rather I have lost weight, but put it back on. My weight has everything to do with my food input. The cycling is great for other things like fitness, state of mind, etc. (I'm currently working on putting a true diet plan together. 2014 looks good. :) ) My FITNESS has increased exponentially.
3: After a while, it's fun to push yourself to your limit.
Once I got past the "oh my god this is so hard how can I ever and what was I thinking" phase, the exercise part of it became FUN. I took my short (5mile) commute home the other day and now that that is a sub-20min ride I pushed hard the whole way and had my personal best average mph for any ride. Working hard and breathing deeply and pushing past the discomfort feels great.
Oh just bought my first road bike? Must immediately begin looking at a good mountain bike. And a dedicated commuter. And a Surly Pugsly, because why not.
5: Cycling specific clothes are worth it.
At first I refused, and wore sweat pants and tee shirts, or whatever was convenient. But now that I've got a few pairs of cycling shorts and a pair of fleece-lined tundra tights and a cycling jacket, I'd never go back. I still look silly in them, but I am on the bike enough to make it worth it. Comfort is key.
6: I am never, EVER, in a bad mood after a ride.
This includes the commutes where I've had flats, and my Saturday rides where I've gotten caught in the rain. Cycling makes me feel better, and THAT'S why it's my favorite thing.