Monday 8 April 2019

The cycle-path test

After years of not doing any, I've done a lot of cycling recently. More than 2,200 miles in the last ten months, apparently. And I'm not going to lie to you, it has transformed my fitness and general health. In that time I've lost nearly a stone and a half in weight, and my cholesterol level is now so low the nurse had to double check her machine. Not only that, but about 60% of those miles would have been clocked up in the car previously, so I've saved money and reduced my CO2 footprint too.

So far, so smug, right?

It hasn't all been sweetness and light, of course. I've got wet quite a lot, such are the vagaries of the British weather (and the inaccuracies of domestic weather forecasts). There have been three punctures and a broken chain. I came off my bike early in February too, and banged my knee up pretty good. That's still not fully better yet either - one of the joys of getting old, everything takes longer to heal. And I'm currently getting a bit of lower back pain on longer (>25mi) rides. Yet another joy of getting old, I expect.

But on the whole, it's been pretty good. The thing is, brilliant though cycling has been for me, it's not the cycling per sé that's been pushing my buttons, oh no. It's Strava. Or, more specifically, the statistics, segment records, club leaderboards, trophy challenges and personal bests that Strava offers. I should probably confess to being quite competitive (and also to the fact that you can probably remove that "quite" too). Competitive with colleagues who use Strava too, sure, but most of all, competitive with myself: I want a faster time, a personal best, a top-10 segment record, a KOM.

Don't worry, I haven't turned into a MAMIL... but I am thinking of buying a new bike... and I have reviewed the Highway Code for the first time in many a year to check the law about cycle paths. No, I don't have to use one if it's there, it is neither compulsory nor mandated (see rules 61 and 63). If the cycle path is well thought out and benefits the cyclist, I'll use it; if it's a poorly conceived afterthought that inconveniences me and/or is full of detritus that gives me punctures, I won't, simple as that. It's no good you honking your horn or shouting out of your window at me either - I'm a road user, just like you, and have just as much right to be on the road as you.

Sorry, ranting there for a sec'. Anyway, all of this is all the excuse I need to wheel out (see what I did there?) this spectacular slice of 70s inappropriateness from Queen. "On your marks, get set, go!"

If you're on Strava, let me know in the comments.

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