Cycling. I’m still doing it. Still loving it. Takes me back to my childhood. But the trouble is, I expected to jump on that saddle without any consequences, just like when I was a teenager. I should know better, though. The footloose and fancy-free me now lives in a middle-aged body. And one thing I’m learning about getting older is that a lifestyle change isn’t always welcomed. So I’ve had to investigate my new sport.
I didn’t even know the basics, when I started, and thought higher gears were the ones that were easier (ie 1,2,3 not 4,5,6). I’ve also just cottoned on that I shouldn’t be free-wheeling downhill but changing into one of those higher gears, so that I’m still moving my legs. Plus the perspiration is no longer a shock – I’ve remembered it’s a side effect of exercise! And I’ve stopped taking it personally when some fit cyclist whizzes past me. One day I’ll catch up.
I’ve had a sore neck, aching elbows and inflamed knees – even though I’m now only cycling half-an-hour a day. But I guess if you’ve been on your butt for six months, getting used to being a full-time novelist, this thirty minutes is more like 30km. So, I’ve had to wise up and search online for information to avoid these injuries. And here, in my opinion, is the science bit.
Apparently, it’s all to do with the position of various cycling parts. Aching neck? Then your handlebars are probably too far forward and making you ride with your head pushed forward, like a turtle (as if I could look any less attractive, once I’ve got my cycling hat on). Knees sore? Your saddle could be too low. Or you aren’t warming up properly before cycling fast in a high gear, so drop down, to make the cycling easier at a higher cadence (ie the rate at which your legs move). Elbows hurting? Again, your handlebars could be too far forward, causing your arms to be in a locked position and taking the impact from every pothole and bump.
There’s no science to explain some things, like running water from your eyes or a fly in your mouth. But i’m slowly getting to grips with my new hobby. Bradley Wiggins watch out!