It’s quite amazing how much of an incline flat roads appear to have when you’re cycling. Roads I have driven on, even walked along, which I was convinced were nothing but 100% horizontal have turned out to be bumpy, uneven, full of potholes, drain covers and manholes, and are always either uphill or downhill.
My last bike had 3 gears, which was considered quite advanced technology in my youth. This one has 3 on the left handle and 6 on the right and I think it’s as basic as they come these days. At least half the energy I expended this morning went on trying to figure out how to use them without changing gear every 2 seconds.
Still, at least this time out I was sensible enough to plan my route so that the majority of the outward journey was up the flat road and the return was mostly downhill.
Despite being breathless as I wheeled the bike through the gate, I began to think perhaps it wasn’t too bad after all. As I locked the shed and returned to the house however, I was suddenly overcome with tiredness; I stepped in through the door and was hit with a wave of exhaustion; I struggled to get my shoes and bike helmet off, flopped onto the sofa and the room began to spin.
It took half an hour and a strong cup of coffee to recover a vague semblance of normality, and finally be able to answer Maggie’s question of how far I’d travelled on my quest to push my body to the limit and test the boundaries of human endurance. I was able to boast that in the 20 minutes I was away I’d covered a little over TWO miles.
Every doctor, health advisor, fitness magazine, video or TV programme insists that exercise is good for you. Sometimes, however, it’s difficult to equate the experience with the faith.