Sunday, 10 August 2014

Pedalling nonsense

It occurs to me that I never really gave an update after my last post, in which I made a frankly shameless attempt to beg for your money for a cycling event.

I mean, I ask you for your cash, tell you I'm off to ride a bike around the West Midlands (well, around a really quite small bit of it) and then...nothing.

For all you know, dear reader, I could have been lying in a ditch somewhere for the last few weeks. I could have been set upon by a band of rabid stoats who are holding me hostage until their demands are met*.

It could happen.

Well, it didn't. I'm here today to tell you that I completed the 18 mile circuit and didn't die. I only had to get off and push once, and that's solely because I mucked up the changing of the gears when a sudden hill appeared. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

Look. I even have photographic proof:

I was shepherded around the course by two friends, Leanne and Rich, who are much more competent cyclists than me. They wear lycra and have ridiculously light road bikes. I mean, look at them. They're thin and fit. An alien landing on Earth and looking at the three of us wouldn't even think we were all the same species, for God's sake.  They even thought to take off their helmets for this photo. That's the sign of a proper cyclist.

They kept close to me as I bimbled around the circuit, being overtaken by everyone. I think we were passed by an eight-year-old on a Raleigh Chipper at one point. They are serious cyclists and would normally have been off, like wheeled greyhounds, but they stuck to me and made sure I wasn't left alone to die in a pitiful steaming mess by the side of the road.

But here's the thing. I've been cycling now for a few months. I only get to go out maybe twice a week at the moment. And I haven't really logged hundreds of miles yet. But I actually quite enjoy it. Perhaps I've found a form of exercise I can get along with? Walking is too boring - it takes a long time for the scenery to change. If I took up jogging it's a toss-up as to what would fail first, my heart or my knees. But I've found I can get on with cycling.

No-one's forcing me to do 100 miles up a mountain at 25mph. I can go at my own pace, and I seem to be getting used to it. When I first did 10 miles I was indistinguishable from a corpse by the time I finished. But now I'm easily pushing on past that and adding more miles every time.

Here's the real test. It was tipping down with rain this weekend so I didn't get a chance to ride. And I've missed it.

Whoa. This is scary. Whisper it quietly, but I even found myself looking at some road bikes online the other day.

I used to look at middle-aged-men-in-lycra in a slightly bemused way before this started. But I think I'm beginning to see the point. Mind you, winter's coming. A couple of weeks of ice and I'll be saying "Bike? What bike?"

But at least while the sun's out I might be able to make a bit of a difference to the waistline.

*(Independence for Stoatland. All weasels to be kept in harnesses. Severe punishment meted out to anyone who can't tell the difference).


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