The Agony and The Ecstasy of Summer Biking

As we move into summer it seemed appropriate to write about riding my bicycle in the heat. I know for a lot of folks cycling season ends in September.

The first photo shows the ecstasy of summer biking being out on the Chicago lakefront enjoying the beauty of the parks and the skyline.

The Ecstasy of summer cycling on the Chicago lakefront

The second photo shows the agony of biking when you don’t make an effort to wear sunscreen. It is the scar from my Mohs surgery to cut out all traces of skin cancer remaining in me. If you missed it you can read about my discovery that I had skin cancer and subsequent surgery in my posts of the past two weeks.

This is my surgical scar with nearly two weeks of healing behind it. Agony indeed.

My 15 stitches have been removed and the doctor says the wound is healing well. So, I have much to be thankful for. I am cancer-free.

Regarding my getting skin cancer from sun exposure in the first place. I refuse to blame it on my genetics. The fact remains that I am the one who didn’t choose to wear sunscreen. Why? Two reasons. It seemed a bit of a nuisance to apply sunscreen each time I went out. Second, the most famous of all famous last words, “It can’t happen to me.” So, my pride got me skin cancer in the form of a basal cell carcinoma.

My having skin cancer and subsequent surgery doesn’t preclude the other risks of summer cycling, namely dealing with the heat.

My doctor told me that when there are heat advisories, she warns even her 40-year-old patients not to exercise outdoors. So, as a senior citizen, I was doubly careful. You can read all about the risks of heat by clicking on the link at the top How to Deal With Extreme Heat.

All of the above is not to say that I don’t love every second of my cycling this summer. There is little more pleasurable to me than the sensation of cutting through the wind as my bike rolls across smooth pavement. Also, the bike riding has kept me in tip top shape. I burn at least 1000 extra calories a day, so I can eat lots. My resting heart rate remains below 50 beats per minute compared with the normal of 60 to 80 for the average healthy adult (not to mention senior citizen). I weigh around 150 pounds and have less than 17 percent body fat with a 31 inch waist. Thanks to biking and being disciplined about what I eat.

I hope you will be able to do as I say and not as I did. Use sunscreen. Make sure it is higher than SPF30 and it is Broad Spectrum, or says on the label, protects against both UVA and UVB rays. You need protection from both. As my dermatologist said, “There is no such thing as a healthy tan.”



Filed under biking, Exercise, skin cancer, summer biking

2 responses to “The Agony and The Ecstasy of Summer Biking

  1. Hi Tony. It was good to see you, and I needed to see you today! I haven’t been so careful with the sunscreen since getting back into a solid walking/jogging routine and today I noticed that I’m much tanner than I ever get. Not so pretty when I think about my family’s history with skin cancer. No more, I’ll be much more careful.

    Good to hear you’re on the mend. You’re still the healthiest guy I know.


    • Tony

      HI, Dominique –

      Nice to hear from you. Very happy if I have had a positive impact on your wearing sunscreen. I fear I am becoming a pest about it, but it is so easy to do and so valuable.

      Best of luck with your exercise program.

      See you in the park!


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