Walking vs bike riding … Boots, one month in …

Exactly one month ago I adopted a new dog, a 3-year old, 20 pound mixed breed named Boots, after my previous canine companion of 16 years, Gabi, passed away.

One of the major differences in the two dogs is that Gabi used the ‘puppy pads’ I put down in my apartment. So I only had to walk her three times a day, pretty much at my convenience. My new guy, Boots, doesn’t understand the pads, so I need to walk him four times a day and on a schedule which includes a first walk at 4:00 a.m.

Additionally, Boots is a high energy little guy, so our walks always amount to one mile. Gabi, on the other hand, was aging and barely able to complete a walk of just over a half mile. So, by a process of rapid calculation, I have gone from walking around 1.5 miles a day to four miles a day … every day.

Boots watching TV with me

With Gabi, I was able to ride my bike from 100 to 125 miles a week. Now, however, with my new walking schedule, I have had to cut back biking to just under 100 miles. In case you forgot, I am 82 years old. I have only had Boots since May 19, so the whole walking/biking experience remains a work in progress.

Clearly, in this situation, I had to wonder, how do the two types of exercise compare?

As I am sure you realize, walking a dog is not a high cardio experience. Our mile walks average around 30 minutes each. Keep in mind that walking is weight-bearing exercise while bike riding is not, so the walking is a plus for my skeleton, if a bit of a minus on the cardio side.

This is what the Chicago lakefront looks like at 4:00 a.m.

Another plus for walking is that it requires no equipment. I just go out. To ride my bike, I need to own a bike and keep it in good running condition. That entails logistical and financial outlays.

The following is an interesting comparison that may be relevant to you in evaluating the two. It is not so much to me.

We Love Cycling reported that Researchers from London investigated the relationship between various commuting methods and obesity risk. Data from 150,000 participants revealed that both walking and cycling showed better results than taking a car or public transport. Walking was associated with significantly reduced BMI and body fat, but to a lesser extent than cycling. The average study participant who cycled to work would weigh about 5 kg less than a similar person commuting by car.

Chicago Skyline view from the lakefront at 4:00 a.m.

So, while I prefer cycling to walking, I have cut back on it because I need to walk more. The big plus, of course, is that I have a fun new dog in my life filling the void left by Gabi’s passing. I consider myself fortunate to live on the gorgeous Chicago lakefront and love riding my bike and walking my dog there.

Lastly, I have learned that while I knew a lot about one dog, that did not necessarily translate to knowing a lot about all dogs. Boots has been teaching me that he is a very different pooch.

I would like to add two final observations as a result of our first month together. I now have total appreciation of the pleasure of simply lying down in bed at any time. Secondly, I seem to be developing the ability to go back to sleep after finishing the 4:00 a.m. walk.

I included the lakefront photos at 4:00 a.m. because I think they are beautiful. I consider myself very fortunate to live on Chicago’s lakefront.



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15 responses to “Walking vs bike riding … Boots, one month in …

  1. Each dog is a whole new experience. And as they age and mature those experiences change as well. Have you thought of training him to trot along your bicycle for one of the walks each day?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your suggestion. Boots is still very high strung. I don’t trust him off the leash at all. As he calms down I hope to get him into the basket on the other bike, but there are a lot of distractions on the lakefront, like ducks, rabbits, squirrels, etc. So, the jury is still out on whether Boots and I will ever ride together. I hope we will.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was thinking of your letting him trot alongside you. They make rigid horizontal extensions that attach to the frame of the bike.

        Or as an alternative one of those enclosed carts that you pull the dog in behind you. Some people use them for a little children.

        Lots of possibilities as he grows and matures.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill

    Hi! I am so glad you have Boots, he must go a long way towards filling the void and the pain felt by Gabi’s passing. He has such a pretty and clever looking face! I love your early morning photos of the Chicago lakeside, it looks very beautiful. Thank you for the interesting Emails I find regularly in my inbox! I do appreciate them! Regards, Jill

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Penny

    You continue to be an inspiration! The changes you’ve made with regard to your physical activity and the adoption of Boots while coping with your loss are not small challenges. I think adapting to change as we age can only be a good thing! The waterfront photos are amazing and make up for that early morning rise! Thank-you for providing a great start to my day. Penny

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks very much for your kind words, Penny. Much appreciated. Right now, Boots and I are dealing with his separation anxiety. That’s another one-day-at-a-time deal. Glad you liked the pics. I agree I get some great views.


  4. Like you, we love to ride our bikes, but we also walk daily. The pictures are beautiful! That dog will help you stay young!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great pictures Tony. The one of you and Boots is really good. Glad you two are bonding and learning about each other. These things take time. I’m glad you have Boots in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tony, I forgot that you bike ride such a distance each week. For me, tomorrow sees the end of my restrictions following my hernia op six weeks ago and I can’t wait to pick up cycling again. It will take a little time to build up my stamina.
    I’m sure you and Boots will work something out soon. Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Paul! Nice to hear from you. Glad you are recovering from your hernia. If it’s not one thing it’s another as we get older. I am interested in the result of my pretty much doubling my walking going forward. I am getting around 80 miles a week on the bike now. Keep recovering!


  7. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! You are getting along famously adjustingto your new friend Boots. I was sorry to learn though that the previous little dog had passed on :(. Although I don’t have a dog, i know through friends how attached we can get. Wow, 4 in the morning is a real sacrifice. Maybe with time you can nudge boots to a little later in the morning, bit by bit… Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Vinny! So nice to hear from you. Yes, it is a real adjustment, but I feel nothing is for nothing. Small price to pay for the fun company of a dog. I am amazed every day by Boots’s thinking process. Stay healthy!

      Liked by 1 person

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