Ride to work. It's only in your head
I couldn't run, so I cycled to work
Recently I achieved something I thought hitherto impossible! Since the turn of the year I have cycled more and more. The catalyst was my back making an executive decision that running was no longer going to be supported as an activity.
Running, five – a – side football, and other running related item all now apparently ‘no go’ activities based on how my back decided to respond afterwards. While not yet ready to transition to full middle-aged golfer mode, getting on my bike would be a way of keeping active, shedding the mental waste of the work week and sharing time with the kids.
My challenge was to find time. Like many I am in the Monday – Friday treadmill of early starts, commuting and late nights. Looking for inspiration I came across a friend who cycles to work near Reading three times a week. That was it – my decision was made. I would commute to work on my bike.
Now the hard part. How the hell was I going to do that? Down the M1? Down the A1? Are there footpaths? Are there old train lines? Could I get injured? What do I wear? Where will I shower? So I did some research. There were positive answers to all these questions. So what was the excuse?
Screw it, decision made, just do it! I found a route and memorised it, set the alarm, packed my backpack with essentials. I was ready.
That first trip was tough. 29 miles in 2 hours. St Albans to Barnet, with a couple of unnecessary loops due to poor route ; Barnet to Finchley, down into the City.
Even so, arriving at work early that morning I was buzzing. It felt like one hell of an accomplishment – not just in having cycled for the first time for 2 hours; but in logistics and concentration.
So fast forward a few months, and I am now regularly riding my bike to work and back – taking me consistently an hour and a half door to door. My days start well – watching the sun come up, joining unofficial bike gangs to navigate the white vans and traffic of London. Sharing nods and smiles with familiar faces.
I am getting the exercise I need; my back seems to approve of this new activity, and I am not stressing about finding time to stay healthy as it's time I would be traveling anyway.
There are all kinds of reasons for me not to do this. The hassle, the potential dangers, etc. But the positives of riding came down to making a mental decision. And it all starts with starts with a pedal.
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