I’m lucky enough to work 6 minutes from the Lunch Loop Trail System here in Grand Junction.  As the name indicates, when people began adding loops to the Tabeguache trail system out there, they wanted loops short enough to be ridden on a lunch break. They got their wish, and then some! The Lunch Loops have expanded and have become quite popular with locals and tourists alike.  Whether it’s lunch time, after work, or midday on a Saturday, you can always find people hiking, running, and biking here.

Grand Junction's Lunch Loop trails are the perfect place for, well, lunchtime riding.

Grand Junction’s Lunch Loop trails are the perfect place for, well, lunchtime riding.

Back to my first point: this place is 6 minutes from work.  So a few days ago when the trails were dry and the temperatures were hovering around 40, I set out for a lunch time bike ride.  I just did a variation of what’s referred to on Strava as “Lite Lunch.” I rode up the doubletrack then cut over onto Pet-y-Kes, took that up to the top, then crossed over to High Noon, Coyote & Raven’s Ridges, and rode down Curt’s Lane at the end. It took me 39 minutes.  You might not think 39 minutes is much but…

1. I was out of the office, away from my desk and in the sunshine for 39 minutes on a Wednesday. My mood changed, my brain had a chance to focus on something other than a computer, and my whole attitude shifted.  I find this is especially helpful if I’ve gotten stuck trying to create an advertisement or when my brain just seems to have slowed down.

2. I wasn’t sedentary! I sit all day long at work.  We all know that various studies show people with sedentary jobs are more likely to have heart problems, be overweight, etc. To be able to get out and get my heart pumping and racing for even 39 minutes is a huge plus.

3. I was more alert and focused once I got back to my desk.  I was able to come up with new ideas, work out a few complicated problems, and just focus more on my work.  Usually by 3 o’clock I’m yawning.  This day I was still full of energy.

4. Finally, I slept better.  That 39 minutes of sunshine and exercise helped me to rest easier and sleep longer.

I don’t always bike on my lunch break.  Sometimes I run and some days I practice yoga.  Still, I always try to get out and move.  As this article from the NYTimes shows, lunch time exercise is beneficial to us all!

Your Turn: Do you bike on your lunch break? What positive effects does this have on the rest of your work day?

# Comments

  • John Fisch

    Oh yeah, nothing beats a lunch ride. I’m fortunate enough to have a flexible work schedule which allows me to take a long lunch if I come in early. I’m also fortunate enough to be within striking distance of a half dozen truly excellent trail systems just perfect for that midday sprint.

    And yeah, the mood and productivity in the afternoon are definitely better after a ride!

  • Greg Heil

    Great article, I definitely agree! It really helps me work out the cobwebs in my mind… plus, in my line of work, I think of my best article ideas when I’m out for a ride 😉

    The one thing I HAVE noticed in years past is that sometimes I’ll try to do a winter training ride mid-day when it’s warm thinking, “oh, I’ll just work late in the evening.” But if my lunch ride is TOO long or TOO intense, I’m just exhausted for the rest of the day. I think it’s a fine balance of enough exercise, but not too much 🙂

    • Julie Hughey

      This is why I’m glad I ONLY have an hour! Otherwise yes, I’d end up asleep at my desk by 3 pm 😉

  • Jeff Barber

    I haven’t done a lot of lunch riding but a few of us are trying to get one started in the area. Luckily the new Singletracks HQ is located right on a bike path!

  • Schmo

    I think it would benefit companies to give a one hour lunch. I would even compromise on half paid and half unpaid. After all we are the ones that make them the multi million profits with little or no compensation. You could go back with a clear mind or a solution to so task that was frustrating the (bleep) out of you. I live three blocks from work and ride as much as possible. The fresh air and sunshine gives me a total pick me up.

    • Julie Hughey

      I think the one-hour lunch break is one of the best perks of my job. I wouldn’t give it up for anything! On days I don’t bike I take runs down along our riverfront. The trail for that is 1/4 mile from work. Other days…I do my grocery shopping. The one hour lunch break is truly valuable to me!

  • Jared13

    I haven’t done the lunch ride, but I have skated out early or showed up late due to riding. If I went for a lunch ride, I’m not sure I’d go back. 😆

    I have hit the gym or the trainer during lunch and those also provide a nice pick me up!

    • Jared13

      Just to be clear, the “early out/late to work” rides were approved. I don’t want to sound like I’m completely ditching work.

    • Jeff Barber

      When I was USAF I sometimes used my mandatory fitness time for MTB rides. Closest thing to getting paid to ride I’ll ever get–ha!

    • Jared13

      That’s exactly how I get the late show or early out!

      I just wish it worked three times a week like advertised.

  • EddyKilowatt

    I keep a commuter/hybrid type (“beater”) bike at work and ride it around the local lake a couple times at lunch, a couple times a week. Alas, half pavement and all flat, but still… two wheels! fresh air! elevated respiration rate! My exertion limit is not to return to work a sweaty stinky mess, since there really isn’t time for a shower and a change… luckily it’s cool for most of the year around here.

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