This blog is about all things cycling. This gives it a huge freedom as the more I’m involved with this pursuit , the more I can relate it to almost every other aspect of my life. So this blog is ostensibly about cycling and no doubt will find its way through a broad sweep of my life and work.
Only because this blog is about cycling have I chosen the banana theme. It has a special place in the hearts of cyclists – we’ll leave it at that and hope it grows on me.(it didn’t – I changed the theme after a week:)
Instead of extending metaphors from the kick off, which I often do, I’ll let all this play out organically over the next weeks and months. A little about myself. Now on the edge of turning thirty seven and without a doubt in the best shape I’ve ever been in, in my whole life. I spent most of my teens and the extended teenage hood that was my twenties avoiding deliberate physical exertion and although I can say I was never out of shape, all that I mean is I was never fat. Realistically I was probably in terrible shape. I used to smoke and drink heavilly right up until my daughter was born.
Now I come to it I realise the minds astounding ability for forgeting pain and discomfort. I spent much of my twenties with chronic chest pain… So far in the past now it has lost the edge of reality.
Physical exertion has been one of the great epiphanies of my adult life. It has bought an order and discipline to the way I do everything. There is something vital, in the truest sense of the word, about it. It is the experience of life itself, of being alive, of being a thing of blood and bellows. There is something in the experience of pushing your body to the edge of its abilities, feeling every cell working, hearing your breath, sensing the blood hurtling around inside you that puts you in intimate touch with what existing physically is all about.
I had no idea.
I used to think sports people were dick heads or morons. That somehow intelligence and physical ability or the pursuit of it were mutally exclusive. A not disimilar duality to the mind/body distinction – which has also been taken apart over the passing years. Its now your mind-body. One system, all of it soaking in neuro-peptides. When your brain thinks something, your whole body thinks it. As soon as you remove the distinction between the two a whole world of new reason for pursuing being physically healthy comes into play.
But I digress – back to me. I finally got fit in my early thirties teaching myself to swim. Just one of the things I managed to make it to adulthood without putting in place. There is material here for a whole separate blog – but I went from a struggling breast stroke, almost keeping pace with the seventy year old chinese guy in the next lane to between 1-2 km of free style every morning over a few years.
And the one recurring dream image I used to have, sharks, has never come up since. I sometimes dispare at my unconciouness’s lack of imagination and subtlety.
No doubt I would have continued just swimming but around a year ago I started on a 6 month contract with the Museum which required me to work on site. I have owned a car for exactly one year of my life – a Smurf blue Morris Minor in my final year of a philosophy degree – so commuting meant a 17 km bike ride each way. Seventeen km is small enough to be reckless about how you approach it. I always did it as fast as I could. There was a curse on my then bike , a Merida flat bar road bike, it couldn’t be ridden slowly. I neglected to tell the guy I sold it to.
I spent that six months doing the 35km a day and always trying to beat the best time, it currenly stands at 28 minutes – on a public holiday when there was little or no traffic, and was completely hooked.
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