A few months later…

It doesn’t feel all that long ago that I put the fear to one side and just got back to riding my bike again, but it has been a few months.

Going from very little exercise to something resembling a training plan has been quite profound and…I have thoughts.

Where I was…

I won’t beat about the bush here, I was in a bit of a mess at the beginning of the year, truth be told. A few stone overweight, feeling like someone 10 years older, very lethargic and a tad fragile. My watch had been telling me my cardiovascular health was “below average” (the cheek of it), but at least my brain was finally in pretty good shape.

I started out in June by doing a few local, but relatively flat loops. The first time out I had to stop on a bite-sized hill at the back of the Garth –Willowford Road. A day or two later, I made it up in one go. Next I decided to try some longer rides and bigger hills. A few trips down to the bay; the Ely trail; Peterston Super Ely; Star Lane to Pentyrch; Heol-y-Fforest; Rhiwbina hill. Each time making sure I push myself a little more.

The usual tell-tale conditioning issues would start to rear their ugly heads the longer the rides went on. The back would ache long before the legs would, but a few more rides and some planking would see to that.

A couple of months in and the legs are feeling good again. The hills around here aren’t too much of a problem now, but I’m enjoying the challenge again. I’m really enjoying being back out there again. I’m riding to the office, riding to visit friends, riding to pick up groceries, but also finding the time to just go out for no particular reason.

This is very close to how it felt back when I started this site. Yes, life has moved on a bit and I no longer have the time to spend long days out riding, but one day that will change. One day there will be big days out again, but until then I’m going to keep plugging away at it.

Finding your ‘why’…

One reason many of us fail to stick to any kind of routine, particularly one that involves exercise or some sort of challenge is that we have not bought into why we are doing it. People will often sign up for a gym membership because we are so often told that we need to exercise, but since when has doing something we are told to do ever been fun? Go to school, go to work…go to the gym.

School was always a bind because, aside from it being the most insecure time of our lives (thanks, hormones), we were expected to learn things that had been decided for us. Work is often something we do because we need the money rather than because we enjoy it. Going to the gym, or going running or cycling can also fall into the “because I’m supposed to” category unless we can find an intrinsic motivation to stick with it.

The best thing about cycling is that it can often be the means rather than an end in itself. We can cycle to see people or places we want to see. Sometimes it can just be about fun. You can get exercise from things you were going to do anyway.

Over on Flickr I’ve been doing a little project that involves taking a photo every day. I’ve done a few of these now and they’re a great way to get me out of ‘work mode’ and into something creative. These past few months I’ve been getting out on the bike looking for things to photograph. Yes, the desire to improve my health is still there, but that’s a medium-term goal, not a priority for today.

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