Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike…(John F. Kennedy), John was obviously not saying this when he was cycling into a gale force headwind with a side order of driving rain at 6pm on a cold winter’s evening, as let me tell you it’s not pleasure that springs to mind but exhaustion. Cycling sometimes can be as much mentally draining as it is physical, and commuting by bike carrying a heavy rucksack, in weather such as this, is one of those times. Is there anything more soul destroying than feeling like you would be quicker walking…actually lets not tempt fate here a puncture or mechanical at this juncture would be much much worse!
Cycling over the last few weeks for me has not exactly gone to plan, getting out of the door early enough to cycle to work in the dark mornings requires something I lack at the moment – lots of self discipline! I awake and it’s just to easy to hit the snooze button 2-3 times and to not cycle, which leaves me using public transport. Now the upsides to this is I am relatively warm and dry for part of the journey and I do get to listen to my current favorite podcast – The Cyclist Pod (listen to it you will see why its my favorite), the downside is I am already about 150 miles behind on my yearly mileage target and several days riding down on my goal.
Yes Mr Kennedy – nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike, but right now the weather in the UK is making it more of a misery than a pleasure. People tell me that half the battle is just getting out of the door – and they are right! Once you have all your cycling clobber on, which in the winter seams like a full workout in itself, then your bag packed with a change of clothes and out the door, your usually faced with cold weather and my friend the wind! Now I hear you say that the wind can only be against me one way….well I beg to differ as I seam to live in the one place in the world that the wind seams to favour changing direction just to be against every cycling commuter, and it’s guaranteed even if there is no wind against me cycling to work – that 999.9999% of the time there is ALWAYS a headwind coming home, in fact of 2 years of cycling here its only ever been a no wind day once, and once there has been a tailwind – and that was due to a storm!
So there are two options – crack on and just get on with it and fight the inner voices telling me that the extra time in bed and being warm is worth it and that I can make up for it come Spring by doing a bazillion miles a week, or I can give in to the inner voices and end up writing off yet another year wasted and false promise to myself and end up back where I started only 12 months down the line. Now for those of you who do not suffer from mental illness this is quite the debate on its own, factor in a condition that makes you over analyse every decision to within the most finite of detail, then factor in said condition also can over take rational thought so that this soon becomes a VERY BIG issue for either choice, and you have the battle I have with myself for that brief 2-3 minutes every morning before deciding if I am riding to work or not. This has become such a tiring exercise that over the last 18 months or so I have just ended up deciding the night before that I will not be riding to work, as this is just easier than battling with my mind over it all night and not sleeping a wink.
As I approach half way through the first month of this “New Year New Me“, I either need to silence the voices discouraging this or face defeat…only time will tell I guess!
You can read more of my journey battling mental health and my mission by clicking here! One Velo is sponsored by Cool Hammocks – Suppliers of the UK’s best quality hammocks and hanging chairs.