Its a strange sport that sees you relish the chance to be out for two or three hours soaked through to the bone, face covered in mud, legs covered in road crap, feet wrinkled and bike needing a wash.
As I left the bike in the garage and saw the sun begin to appear from behind the clouds I was happy that I’d chosen the morning to ride rather than the sunny afternoon. Cycling in poor weather for me is what cycling is all about. I personally think that cyclists also look better with a waterproof jacket on, and we all know that half of cycling is looking good.
I was really struggling to motivate myself to carry on cycling following on from finishing the Tour of the South East. Waking up on Sunday morning and knowing I had to put my waterproof on before I’d even left the house wasn’t really filling me with joy but I hadn’t seen my club mates for a few weeks and knew I had to go for it.
During the week I had happened upon the new video from Strava “Ride with Us.” It made me realise why I ride. I ride because I love riding my bike, simple.
I keep on telling myself that I need something to aim for. I need a goal to motivate myself to keep riding my bike. What this video helped me to realise was that actually I don’t need an event to aim for. What I need to do is remember why I ride my bike, why I spend so much money on bikes and clothes and food.
Sunday morning riding in the rain, being hit by road spray, and finishing the ride looking somewhere close to but not quite like I’d been riding the wet cobbles of Belgium, made me realise just how much I love to ride my bike.
Being a teacher I get quite some time off in the summer (yes, I do deserve it before you start shouting) and I plan to use it productively. Last summer when I was a trainee teacher I had quite good form going into the summer months. My average speeds over the same routes were up last year and I also weighed a couple of pounds less. I am determined to make the most of the break not only on shedding some more weight and getting a bit faster but also on cultivating my tan lines (rule #7). I am even considering taking my club kit on holiday to wear in the sun for the first few days just to keep those lines on my arms and legs as sharp as possible.
What other sport sees you push yourself to the limit in climbing a hill, which you have gone out of your way to ride over, to then go down that hill as fast as you can before looking for another hill?
What other sport has your legs screaming (there are times when I think my legs have actually emitted a sound in defiance of continued riding) before then riding some more, possibly over another hill?
When else is it acceptable to wear sunglasses when it is pouring with rain?
What other sport forces you on to a saddle which clearly wasn’t designed for the human posterior for hours at a time?
Cycling doesn’t need an aim. Yes, it helps to have something to push yourself for, but what is most important is to not forget why most people start cycling in the first place – because we love to be outdoors, on the road, climbing hills, making your lungs burst and racing your friends.