Perhaps more than most things, riding a bike is about striking a balance. Not, you understand, in the literal sense. That’s pretty much a given or else you’ll just end up sitting around in a cafe somewhere talking about how cool your fixie is. What I’m going on about is how difficult it is to ride a bike when other things get in the way.
We all know the drill. We plan a ride. We let other halves know we’re riding and we organise whatever else we need to do around it. But then, something comes up that throws all those plans into disarray.
For me recently I’ve had a combination of too many late nights (did I mention I’ve just rebuilt the Cycleworks website?), a sick child the night before a planned Friday commute, cold weather, lethargy and just plan ol’ life getting in the way. The upshot is still over 120 off-road miles for January but I’ve barely ridden for the past two weeks.
OK, that’s no big deal but it’s the mental aspect that starts to affect your committment. No exercise equals no motivation to exercise in my book and judging by some of the moles I’m not alone. I end up feeling unfit which is really a psychological effect more than anything. The more I’m off the bike the more I feel I should be riding, which is a whole world of guilt for me.
That’s why I think regular bike riding is about striking a balance. I’m full of admiration for, and slightly nervous of, those chaps who can grind out big miles week after week. The mental effort involved in fighting the boredom in order to do that is impressive. But it’s clearly not sane or balanced. Don’t they have homes to go to?
The more I do this sort of thing, the more I realise you can’t ride all the time so you just have to do what you can, when you can. I commute regularly but it takes it’s toll physically and mentally when you have to drag yourself out of bed at 6:00AM for a cold solo ride. I much prefer people’s company to take my mind off the pain of all those climbs!
The riding gland is an unpredictable thing though so my advice is don’t sweat things too much. Try and have a plan to ride and follow it when you can. Like having a holiday to look forward to it’s good to have the prospect of your next ride ahead of you, particularly if you’ve committed to riding with others.
But accept you can’t always ride and strike a balance or, if you ride fixie; strike a pose!