Back On The Bike

Some mentalists

This morning I cycled into work for the first time in a fairly long time. I’ll be honest, I’ve been fairly lax of late. For a variety of reasons, finding the energy to leap out of bed at 6.15 and start cycling up a steep hill has proved fairly tough. There have been real life reasons, but the biggest impact on my cycling career (this is my story, and I’m sticking to it) has been something that I’m going to call ‘The Tour De France Effect’.


I’ll keep this short. We’re all familiar with ‘The Wimbledon Effect’, where every family in Britain spends the second half of July playing tennis after having spent the first half watching it – and it’s fairly easy to understand why. Wimbledon makes tennis look fun, classy and (importantly) like something you could do. There’s a grace to professional tennis players (particularly in the men’s game), a style or elan that makes the nigh on impossible look easy. They make you think, “I could do that.” And so you try. And fail. And put the rackets back under the stairs until next July.

But ‘The Tour De France Effect’ is different. Firstly, those cyclists make you feel incredibly small. It’s hard to feel proud of your 8 mile commute into work (even if it is incredibly hilly) when you then have to watch the 200km sprints, where they coast along, chatting, drinking and having a laugh, as if cycling 200km isn’t enough to kill most people stone dead. And secondly, when it’s hard, they really don’t make it look easy or enjoyable – the agony on the face of Contador, Armstrong, Wiggins or one of the other, more rubbish ones is not inspiring. It does not say, “Hey! You could do this! Get cycling!” Rather, it says, “Cycling’s for mentalists! Get out! Get out while you still can! RUN!!!”

And so I stopped cycling. And am blaming the Tour De France for it. But no longer.

The accumulated fitness was disappearing, so I’m back on the bike. You might be able to beat cancer, Armstrong, but you can’t beat me.
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  1. Grethic
    August 11, 2009 at 9:36 am

    I have to pretend that I do a 'different sort of cycling' otherwise I would loose the will to get on a bike. I cycle like a southern Italian, knees out. leisurely pace, admiring the countryside.

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