Why I'm Taking Up Cycling For Fitness*

*This is a collaborative post*

I have recently been informed that running on hard surfaces is something I should really try to avoid due to the battering my knees have taken during my sporting life. I have to be honest, even though I have always been sporty and love running in football or rugby for example, I have always hated just running for mile after mile. The monotonaity followed by the gasping for breath concluded by the vomitting violently on the floor (okay so only in extreme cases but you get my point). Due to my hate/hate relationship with running I must confess that being told by a legitimate physician that I should perhaps consider other avenues of training for cardiovascular fitness, was a greatly welcome relief to me. Although I will probably use the treadmill a couple of times per week, after all there’s a reason militaries across the world whip their recruits into shape via miles of running, it is the best form of cardio, as much as I loathe it.
This doctor's order has led me to do some research into the benefits of various training methods such as swimming, rowing and cycling which are all great for building and developing cardio endurance in each their own right. I discussed this with the Doc at my next consultation for a rugby injury. He couldn't speak higher of the benefits of cycling to me, even had he been sat astride a penny farthing while wearing a yellow jersey and fake stick on sideburns a la Sir Bradley. He gave me an enthusiastic speech about the benefits of cycling as a means of maintaining and improving fitness and health in general. I had to agree that there is something more alluring to me about cycling as it speaks to me more as a person who likes to be outside and in the countryside whenever I can be. Of course the obvious benefits of cycling are that it promoted fat loss, improves health of the brain, heart and blood vessels and suchlike however, none of these benefits are exclusive to cycling. It is the fact that cycling is a low impact aerobic activity in contrast with others so instead of putting my knees and joints through the gradually destructive process of repetitive high impact exercises I shall instead saunter gracefully along on 2 wheels.

Living where I do the real countryside is around 5 miles out of town, by the time I run there I’m just about ready to die let alone turn and head back home. However, being on a bike suddenly the ability to enjoy some time adventuring around the country lanes and seeing some beautiful scenery while I try and beast myself really appeals to me and so I am now reliving one of my favourite boyhood pleasures. Picking out a shiny new bike for Christmas. Only this time I’m paying, not the Bank of Mum and Dad, and being that I’m all grown up and impatient I am not waiting till Christmas either, I shall treat myself as soon as I find a bike I’m happy with.

I am currently searching for cycling bargains including not only a good bicycle but also the accoutrement such as all the lights, bells and whistles, oh they'll see me coming. I just hope I invest in a sturdy bike, I am reassured slightly in the knowledge there are lots of really good bike manufacturers out there especially given my unerring knack of falling off at high speeds, usually in front of a traffic jam or in the view of a double decker bus full of passengers. You know, like the most hideously embarrassing kind of crash. It really does cut all manliness from you in a matter of milliseconds. From gliding along smoothly, nonchalantly, elegantly even, to Smash! Bang! Wallop! In one fell swoop; Head down, cursing inanimate objects, trying with all one's might to imagine what could have possibly gone wrong with the bike; as you hobble off down the street with a limp, which despite best efforts cannot be disguised adequately enough as you feel the cool breeze on blood trickling from freshly skinned kneecaps. Please I implore you, wish me luck.

*Written by Michael David

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