Today I rode my bike to work.
Now, anyone who knows me will instantly realise the gravity of this statement and will either think that I was held at gunpoint and made to do it with no other possible choice, or it’s a blatant lie.
7.2 miles each way.
14.4 miles round trip.
731 calories burned (seems a bit miserable, I hope my calculations are wrong, I was hoping for at least 1000)
And all done on a top of the range, all singing, all dancing mountain bike.
Okay that bit is a lie.
My trusty steed of choice was actually the very same pink and purple Raleigh Mountain Bike Father Christmas brought me for Christmas when I was 12. Heavy, rusty, and home to a squillion spiders and their webs thanks to being abandoned at the side of the garage all winter, it is barely functional and certainly not top of the range. After 30 years of neglect, it isn’t reliable and it’s certainly not safe, in fact, it’s a death trap. The front brake doesn’t work at all, mainly because I think it’s rusted to the wheel, so it makes a horrific sound the whole time it’s moving and then refuses to do anything at all when I try and slow down for a;
- Dog walker
- Mobility scooter
- Small child
- Zebra crossing
I tend not to change gear either which can make it tough trying to get up the hills. This is mainly because I know full well that should I attempt it, the chain will immediately fall off and I will be stranded in the middle of nowhere on the old railway lines because I have absolutely no bike related knowledge and the only option I would be left with is to kick the bike into a bush, probably breaking my foot in the process and then hobble the rest of the way into town, to work, arriving over an hour late.
And that’s the best case scenario. The amount of weirdos that hang around down that track is a little unnerving. I try not to think about it too much because I tend to let my imagination run wild and end up terrifying myself with all sorts of situations my mind has fabricated, and that are more suited to a plot on Midsummer Murders.
Slogging out my guts in the stiffest gear there was, periodically attempting to stand up to pedal to get some speed up, then thinking better of it when it felt suspiciously like the pedal might snap, I saw a woman on a bike riding towards me. She was a slim woman aboard a shopper with a basket on the front brimming with snacks. She had headphones in which I presume was connected to her phone as she was having an animated conversation with someone, even laughing at certain points. As she got closer I noticed she had a small dog sat behind her and she was smoking. This woman was clearly having a bloody lovely time, she didn’t even appear to be sweating. And there I was covered in mud, going at a snail’s pace while making involuntary grunting sounds. And I certainly was sweating, like a bitch actually.
You’d think this might make me bitter but it hasn’t. She has inspired me. It made me realise that exercise isn’t as awful as what I seem to make it. In a few weeks, if I stick with this biking to work business twice a week I could be her. Obviously a little fatter because I am a bit fatter, without the dog, because I wouldn’t be taking a dog to work, not on the phone though because I’m grumpy when I exercise, and probably not smoking because I’m not being funny but I’m not as talented as this serial multitasking legend. But I could definitely get on board with the basket of snacks.
Which I think tells you everything you need to know about me.