No, I’m not telling you to go away – in fact, I’m telling you to stick around and continue reading! 🙂
It’s somewhat of a retrospective period with the new year and all. We’re all excited about what this year will bring and how we can improve ourselves, our health and success. A few years ago, circa 2014, I was active and would run quite a lot. At the time I used live in a beautiful little town called Stratford in London, England; right by the Olympic Park. I was part of a running club doing 5km runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays along with 10km runs on Sundays. It was going really well but with the new year, I gave myself new targets and forced myself out of my comfort zone and onto a bike! Trust me when I say the traffic in London is intimidating in a car, let alone on a bike sewing through traffic or even cycling on the cycle super highway, which is littered with pedestrians all the time.
I had no proper cycling gear, no clip in pedals, no fancy cycling jersey, no bib shorts; just a helmet (which is essential, people!). There I was taking my bike out of my flat, out the main building entrance and to the pavement on the side of the road. I was fortunate that I had the cycle lane right in front of my building which led all the way to Central London and to work. Heart pounding, I hopped on and that was it. I probably looked like a noob to those seasoned, lycra adorned pros but I didn’t care. I had the wind blowing against me, and felt liberated! Eventually I ended up looking forward to my commute everyday. I slowly bought the right gear, learning how to clip in and out with cleats and pedals, and over time got even fitter and leaner. I truly felt like I belonged!
Cycling was great for me. Not only did I see myself physically change in some ways, but (more importantly for me) I found that cycling was my new outlet. I work as a Software Engineer and just like everyone else, work can be stressful at times! Cycling was my time to exercise, have fun but most of all think and organise my thoughts. It was helping me feel less stressed about life overall because all of a sudden I had uninterrupted me time.
I ended up adding cycling to my exercise regimen. I steadily learned how to pace myself, increase the amount of miles I could cover (eventually hitting 100miles in one ride) and how to fuel properly – all topics I will cover in other posts incase you were wondering! I was happier, healthier, more focused and ended up making tonnes of friends through joining a local cycling club and races – specifically duathlons.
If you’re thinking about getting fit, trying something new or ways to help with lowering stress, consider cycling! Trust me when I say you don’t have to spend tonnes of money on a bike – find something used, a starter road bike and get out there! Please consider subscribing to the blog for more posts like this and don’t forget your helmets!