Needlessly Cycling 16km to Work

The newly installed, 8 kilometre (km), bitumen cycle/walking trail that runs through the length of my town has one rule, which is really more of a guideline in both the interpretation and literal sense of the rule, and that is to keep left.

You can see in the image that this rule is painted onto the trail periodically to remind people.

Apparently the rule doesn't apply to pedestrians who are used to walking anywhere they please on the majority of footpaths.

Which would be fine if only they'd do one thing every now and then - look over their shoulder to see if anything is coming up behind them. When you get two or more walkers together, they often get so caught up in conversation that, whilst taking up the width of the walking trail, they forget that others may want to get past.

As you may have guessed from the picture I've been cycling this trail. I've been doing so every day for the last three weeks, five days a week, 8km there and back (16km total) to get to work. Considering I work from home - that's dedication for you!

I've written about my attempts to keep fit before, something I've kept up since about 2003 (I think) when I started a regular routine of weight lifting, sit ups and stretches, coupled with daily walks. Then I made the mistake of taking up jogging.

A few months after we got our dog, Oscar, in late 2010, my regular walks with him were stretching out to about an hour and a half. That, along with running around like an idiot with Oscar in the back garden on a daily basis, seemed like more than enough exercise for me so I decided to drop all the weight lifting I'd been doing.

As it turns out, walking an hour and a half with a little dog that likes to stop and 'smell the roses' (you dog owners will know I don't actually mean 'roses') quite a lot along the way isn't really fooling my body into thinking it's getting enough exercise.

I didn't want to go back to weight training because, well, it's boring as hell, despite how good you feel afterwards.

My partner bought me a mountain bike back in 2010, which I rode for a while but has kind of been in storage lately. Since they opened up the new bike track which gives you a near unbroken run through the most scenic parts of our town I figured that would be a great way to get in some additional exercise. Plus you rarely see overweight cyclists - well not the hardcore ones who go out and buy the Lycra, 'go fast' suits anyway (I'm not doing that!).

The ride is really good but right at the other end of an already hilly track is the steepest hill I've ever ridden a bike up. It marks the halfway point of my round trip journey.

The bottom third of the hill is the steepest part and, as you can see from the image, it's steep enough for the council to put up a warning sign for those going down hill on bikes. It's the only warning sign about hills along the whole trail.

Going down you have to use your brakes otherwise you're likely to collide with an unsuspecting dog owner or worse, a baby laden stroller as you go around the corner at the bottom.

Going up, even in the lowest gear it's a real struggle to keep the bike moving. By the time I get to the sign I have to stop for a rest because I"m gasping. I get almost as much exercise going up this hill as I do riding over the whole of the rest of the trail.

Once I've caught my breath I continue up the other two thirds of the hill, which still requires low gear but is thankfully not as steep. Totally worth it for the view and the exercise though.

Despite three weeks of this thus far my weight is staying constant at 70kg. Which may not seem heavy but my ideal weight, when I'm in super fit condition is around 64kg. Even at 70kg I'm not saying I'm fat. I just know that I can be fitter and lighter. I just like to keep on top of things.

I don't ever want to get to the stage where I can't do something because I'm overweight or not fit.

3 comments:

  1. You're not eating too much of the fast food are you? If your weight is staying constant even with the exercise, it's usually to do with more intake of food, or too much of the wrong food which isn't getting burnt off.

    When I used to go to aerobics three times a week in my 40s at the beginning, my weight stayed at 9 stone for ages (in the old scale, about 60 odd kilos I think) and they said I was just maintaining my weight but not losing any. In other words the exercise was keeping me from putting anymore weight on, but my food was keeping me at the constant weight.

    I weigh 8 stone now (about 53 kilos I think) and eat low fat milk and cheese, and only grilled or roasted meats cooked in own juices, and the occasioal fish 'n' chips when I go out, and ones from super market at home once a week.

    Don't eat as much sweet stuff, and only have biscuits now and again, with my piece of fruit cake with my lunch each day. I've trained myself to have dark chocolate instead of biscuits, as I don't really like it. Have some that's fruit and nut as well, so makes it a bit better. Supposed to be good for you in moderation.

    The only exercise I get is to and from buses etc, and to my social groups, and at the shopping centre about twice a month where I really seem to walk my feet off, only sit down for lunch.I could still do to lose a bit and tighten some skin and muscles up, but I guess it's just that time of life for me with loose skin, though it's really only on my arms - they're not what they used to be, but being past 60yrs, they wouldn't I guess!

    Keep up the exercise though, you're doing well, but take it easy on the hills! Pace your self!

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    Replies
    1. I probably eat a few too many biscuits lately but beyond that my diet hasn't changed much over the years.

      I like to think my weight's staying constant because the cycling is also building muscle - but I have no real way of knowing if that's true. If I don't see some improvement after a couple of months I might consider going back to weight lifting which got my weight back down to about 64KG last time I found myself 70KG+

      It's all good to be exercising though. The hills on the bike track aren't that hard really... except for that last big one. You'd need to be a pro cyclist not to be out of breath going up that hill.

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  2. Well,take care with the weights then - always warm up your muscles first by doing loosen up exercises, maybe running on the spot or just shaking your muscles around 'til they feel loose and warm. Are they just arm weights, as you have to bend your knees to lift anything else?

    Cycling and walking are much pleasanter ways to exercise though.

    .....I never get notification for replies here, and I don't think there's anything in the account to do it. I always save the blog email so I can come back to look for a reply, otherwise I'd forget.

    ReplyDelete

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