Saddle Sore – Reviews, Rides & Rablings – Cycling Blog

Trying To Get Back In The Saddle

Since February this year the amount I’ve been cycling (if at all) has reduced significantly and there are a few reasons (for reasons read excuses).

  1. CHILDREN It’ll be no coincidence that my cycling started to wind down early February when Etta, child number two, made an appearance – she has a lot to answer for. Like it or not, things change when you have a baby, and more so with a second. As you might expect pretty much everything else comes second to them. Sarcastic thanks to Kitty and Etta. They also have swimming lessons on a Saturday morning/afternoon which would have been a favoured cycling slot for me.
  2. CARS If the girls have been getting us up at night or the cat has vommed on my pillow, when I wake in the morning I just look for the path of least resistance and most coffee – a car and Costa (I’d prefer Starbucks) is that path. In mid 2015 we got a new campervan, in early 2016 I got access to a company car. and in mid 2016 a Costa opened up en route to work
  3. NEW COMMUTE In late 2015 VOXIT (the company I work for and quite possibly the best IT support in the South) moved to lovely new premises in (the pretentiously named) Lee-on-the Solent. This makes my shortest cycle commute 12.1 miles, about 3 miles longer than before. The extra 3 miles contains a horrible long stretch along the A32 and Newgate Lane (B3385); it is very busy and/or very narrow, completely unpleasant to cycle and the disconnected cycle path fragments are in my opinion even more dangerous to use. I have no real problem with the extra miles, it’s just that they are horrible and dangerous miles.
  4. ACHES & PAINS As I started to find cycling a bit of a struggle, minor niggles began to be exacerbated by lack of enthusiasm. I started to feel the bike was the wrong size for me even though it is almost certainly not. My neck/back started to feel sore(r) and the outside of my right foot would hurt. Being on the bike just didn’t feel as confortable or natural as it once did.
  5. OTHER THINGS I’D RATHER BE DOING With having a new (to us) campervan that we could all comfortably go away in it gave me something else to do that I really enjoyed. I love camping and I even love camping with the girls (don’t tell anyone I enjoy spending time with my family). I enjoy going away for a weekend in the van with the fam; previously I would have been out cycling.
  6. MODERATION I’d terrible at doing things in moderation, it’s all or nothing. So when I started not wanting to cycle everyday I felt like not bothering at all.
  7. LOSS OF FITNESS I don’t do much exercise other than cycling so when that stops it starts a bit of a vicious circle. Having said that, I always have my sedentary colleagues at work to make me feel better about myself.
  8. LACK OF INTEREST All of the above results in a lack of interest, and if I’m not interested I’m not going to cycle.

Trying to get it back…

On the first of May a group of us cycled the Isle of Wight Randonnee and I hoped this would reignite the cycling fire. I hadn’t cycled much in the preceeding weeks and months (19 mins running and 52 mins cycling in 12 weeks) but I know the route well and I’d be able to complete it easy enough – or so I thought. I was struggling from the off but by Ventnor I was done (about 20 miles in of a 66 mile ride). It was no fun and it took all I had not to call a taxi. I was with a group of people (I’d struggle to call them friends) who I have cycled many times in the past but I’d always been one of the stronger in the group but this time they were all well above my level – I’d like to think it wasn’t just me getting weaker but also them getting stronger. If anything, this ride did the opposite of boosting me back on bike…boo.

Addressing the reasons…

  1. CHILDREN I asked around informally but no one seems interested in taking them, a lot of people were interested until they found out they were ginger. So that leaves me to try and integrate them into our lives. Anyone with kids will know things change when you have them and equally that as they grow things settle back to some semblance of what was once before. Etta is only 7 months so is slowly stabilising into routine and independance.
  2. CARS Hopefully car use will decrease as things settle down with the kids and I start to feel more ‘up for it’ in the mornings. Though I’ll be kidding myself if I think I won’t be driving when it’s -5 and raining, even though I always regret not cycling. Not much I can do about this one other than improve all the other points so the want to cycle outweighs the ease of the car.
  3. NEW COMMUTE I have 3 options; a) put up with the current route, b) use a new route that is less busy/dangerous but 3 miles longer, c) use the Gosport ferry. Here’s my thoughts on those options; a) If i want to be more positive about cycling I can’t continue on the current route, b) the new new route is about 15 miles long but is much nicer and I think it’s the only practical answer, c) Using the Gosport Ferry would take me on nicer roads and give me an 8.5 mile route, but would cost me £4.60 a day and I just can’t afford to spend that much. A season or bulk ticket would reduce it a bit but not enough to make it viable.
  4. ACHES & PAINS Maybe I’d need to look at a more detailed bike/shoe fit. I think also not carrying a backpack may help. Perhaps I will look to visit a sports injury clinic for advice.
  5. OTHER THINGS I’D RATHER BE DOING This isn’t really a problem is it? Though perhaps I could try and involve everyone in cycling; fix up Kitty’s trailer and get Etta seat.
  6. MODERATION There’s not much to be done about this other than to give myself a slap and get on with what I can do when I have the opportunity.
  7. LOSS OF FITNESS I’ve been trying to run at lunchtime at work on the days I don’t cycle. Maybe I could fit some swimming in somewhere too. I really do hate running but it does seem to get you fit quick (for me at least).
  8. LACK OF INTEREST When all the bits above slowly get sorted the interest and drive will return.

In summary, what I need to do, in no particular order, is:

  • Wait for my kids to stop being pains in the arse.
  • Take the new longer, more pleasant route to work.
  • Move the luggage from my back onto my bike for comfort.
  • Visit a sports injury place.
  • Prepare the family for more cycling activities -sort the trailer and by a seat. Perhaps go on the imminent Glow Ride in Portsmouth.
  • Cycle to work on the nice weather days at least once a week and let the positivity return.
  • Do some other exercise – running and/or swimming.
  • New kit always (usually) builds enthusiasm – I do have a £50 Wiggle voucher to use.

Let’s see how it goes, though now winter is coming I’d better resume my search for bib tights.

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Matt

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