Cycling for health and wealth
I am getting on a bit, in fact that's me on the right, but I still find getting the old bicycle out the shed, putting my joggers down my socks, wrapping the scarve round and putting on the crash helmet quite excilerating.
Not as excilerating perhaps as driving down to pick up my jackpot lottery win, but almost !!
There are two reasons I cycle as much as possible. The first
because, according to the Kent Cricket Club Physio, it does me
good and secondly, it saves me money which could be better
spent elsewhere. Both reasons are on a par with each other.
Well, cycling does do me good. Before I downshifted and was working in Railway Management, I had a few problems with the old ticker. This consisted of mainly bad palpatations and a murmour. Add to that a couple of minor strokes and I was basically a wreck !
I was partly calmed following an angiogram, but with a few other things, I 'downshifted for a better life'.
On the money issue, nowadays I try (I repeat 'try' !) to never go to town in the car (8 miles there and back) and to the local shops in the car.
In an average week I would therefore cycle about 40 miles, thus saving approx £4 on petrol and about £2 on parking the car.
Not a lot maybe, but that's £312 per year minimum. That's an average subscription to Sky TV, the road tax and insurance for the car (bit ironic I know) or the chicken food plus wood shavings. So it's all relevant.
On the health issue, in the winter of 2003 / 4 I didn't use the car atall, but cycled for 5 months. It was hard work I have to admit; the cold days, the dressing up, the numb fingers etc. I certainly saved a lot of money during that time and working the following summer was good.
Last winter I didn't cycle much atall. This was partly due to being 'called up' by the Cricket Club at the end of January and all the snow we had on top of that.
What I did notice was that this summer, 2005, I found the job a lot more difficult and I certainly didn't seem so fit.
Of course, it may be I'm just a year older, but it was very noticeable and I put this down to lack of bike riding..
It's a bit like weeds in the garden, leave it a year and it's 3 years to catch up.
It isn't all sunshine and roses though and there are things you have to take into account. There's
the obvious safety issue.
Most car / van / lorry drivers seem to either not see, or just don't care if they have the attitude
that 15 seconds waiting to overtake a cyclist is time immortal. The occasions I've been
carved up by vehicles is amazing.
A safety helmet is a very wise investment.
Then there's the 'no brains'. These are usually youngsters with the mental age of two
and find great amusement in either cutting you up or shouting just as they're overtaking you.
It has given me great pleasure on a few occasions to get my vengence - silvertop with attitude !
The occasion I remember best was when I was cycling up the hill from my house towards town when all of a sudden a boy racer type car overtook me and one of the passengers on the nearside shouted at the top of his voice a word which sound like anchor.
I tell you, I nearly had a corony, not because of the incident, just the fact it made me jump so much. I was lucky not to fall off my bike on a busy road with other traffic coming up behind.
Anyway, about a quarter of a mile further toward town I approached the traffic lights and low and behold, there was this car stuck in a jam. Being slightly down hill and seeing they had every window open, I free wheeled down, got right beside the car and screamed 'arrrrrrgh' at about 50 watts.
I glanced back, it had obviously done the same to them as it did to me.
A final note to that is I knew the cycle path going off road was only a couple of hundred yards further along and there was no chance of them catching me !
But, I don't recommend this kind of behaviour (but once in a while, you just love it !).
So, save cash, get fitter, see the scenery, park outside every shop you want to go into. Mentally
and bodily, you'll feel better for it.
By the way, I've been to the Doctor about 6 times in the last 5 years, all about my old problem of migraines - ticker seems OK (ooooh, should I have said that !!!!)
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A tired cyclist stuck his thumb out for a lift:
After 3 hours, hadn't got anyone to stop. Finally, a guy in a sports car pulled over and offered him a ride. But the bike wouldn't fit in the car. The driver got some rope out of the trunk and tied it to his bumper. He tied the other end to the bike and told the rider:
"If I go too fast, ring your bell and I'll slow down.
Everything went well until another sports car blew past them. The driver forgot all about the cyclist and put his foot down. A short distance down the road, they hammered through a speed trap. The cop with the radar gun and radioed ahead that he had 2 sports cars heading his way at over 150 mph. He then relayed, "and you're not going to believe this, but there's a cyclist behind them ringing his bell to pass!"
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