In the first of a mini-series about cycling, theshit50s talks bikes and better mental health
RIDING MY BIKE is keeping me sane at the moment.
We’ve been going out several times a week lately – my bike and I. Usually early in the morning, before the winds get up, and in gaps between the rain showers that are making this second lockdown Spring tooth-grindingly disappointing.
Often, when we start off, I’m not feeling very strong – either mentally, or physically.
I’ll be anxious, or hungover, or both. But I go, anyway, because I know that 30 or 40 kilometres of riding will reset me in a way that a night’s sleep often can’t. I’ve learned that simply focusing on the road, and climbing a few stiff-ish hills, will settle me down enough to handle the day.
What also helps is that the bike feels kind. Cycling is much more forgiving exercise than running, which was always my go-to anxiety cure until recently.
But, now I’m struggling with injury and my overall fitness, running doesn’t flow for me like it used to.
The broadcaster Max Rushden wrote a column about jogging recently that described exactly how jerky and laboured my own running style has become: “less fluid movement, more a set of individual competed actions. Land. Stop. Lift leg. Stop. Repeat.”
But I don’t have this problem when I’m cycling: instead of having to fight my body when I run, the bike co-operates with me.
Continue reading “Man Multiplied by Machine”
When I’m not strong, the efficiency of my bike is sweet relief”