Looking at your average social media page during this period of lockdown it would seem there are two options; crack open the wine while tucking into the crisps or become a health kick bore and exercise like mad. If I’d tossed a coin I could quite easily and happily chosen either route. Pre-Lockdown, we had reduced our calorie intake to lose some of our Lanzarote gained pounds, so a bike ride wouldn’t hurt, I told myself.
It hurt. The skinny, firm saddle was victorious over my wide, soft bottom. The padded cycling shorts I wore in my fitter days remain in hibernation in a wardrobe 100 non-essential miles away. As does the figure hugging (luckily, in this case) lycra, crash helmet, clip in shoes and padded gloves. Well prepared in football shorts and normal shoes balanced on clip pedals I managed about 6 miles, then gingerly limped back trying to keep my bum off the saddle.
Admission time, I have in the past been a serious ‘weekend warrior’, cycling about 50 miles every Sunday with a bunch of similar lycra bulging ‘mamils’ (middle aged men in lycra). However, this was about 6 years ago, and more importantly, about 60lbs less bodyweight ago. From experience, I knew the delicate rear end would be temporary and consecutive days of moderate mileage would toughen me and my bum up. If you are a newbie to cycling please take note, it gets better, trust me.
Only after 4 or 5 consecutive rides of about 10 miles did I consider the realisation I could ‘keep it up’. Hurray, I can become a health kick bore. I started to up the mileage, then see how far I could pedal in 1 hour, then see how quickly I could pedal 20 miles, then how far in 90 minutes … I’m boring you already … Haha.
It was around the point I accumulated 100 miles that I started plotting a virtual route from Lands End to John o’Groats, also known as LEJOG, or JOGLE depending on your direction. Why not? A visual reward for my efforts. I also needed 100 miles to convince me I could reveal my idea … announcing it and failing by Bodmin would be embarrassing. How far do I need to ride? 876 miles on Wikipedia, 837 miles by car on Google Maps or 909 by bike on Google Maps. It’s my virtual ride and I could virtually take any virtual route I like, after all, the motorways are virtually empty aren’t they. My honest conscience taps on my shoulder and I opt for the 909 mile route.
Oh … and another thing … did I mention I’m doing the whole 909 miles on the same 0.3 mile loop of our isolation garden. Luckily, we are isolating on the caravan site where we were working on the day lockdown was announced, the view is quite agreeable, how I will feel after 3,000 laps is yet to be known, I doubt it is as rewarding as seeing Britain pass beneath my wheels … one day maybe that too could be achieved, non virtually.
Where am I not? As I write this I’m not riding past Stafford if you get my drift … hence my semi-confidence. Wish me well, there has been one associated bonus, there is 20lbs less weight pushing down on the saddle now.