Friday, June 7, 2013

Things You Didn't Want To Know About Cycling

I love my bike, my Crimson Beast (ahem). Getting into cycling to work on a regular basis has been everything I have ever needed in exercise- it fits my daily routine, it isn't super costly all the time, and it doesn't hurt my slightly battered hips and knees. Sounds awesome right? I even get to work quicker on my bike than when I take the train.... but there's a dark side to life on 2 wheels, full of weird bruises, dirty fingers and crunchy bits.... here's everything you never ever wanted to know about cycling.


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1. If you haven't cycled before (and by before I mean since you were 10/11 like me....) be prepared for bruises. Not from coming off or bashing into things, but some bruises that will make you look like you've been participating in some 50 Shades style fun. The seat on my bike well and truly left it's mark after the first couple of days, I'd like to say on my thighs, but that would be a generous description of where the bruises were..... Don't say I didn't warn you.

2. Speaking of thighs, they will threaten to take over the world. I was hoping for toned, slim, strong legs. I got thighs that whilst markedly tighter than before, no longer fit the same trousers my size 10 waist does. I am hoping that once everything evens out, they will slim a little, but right now I think I'm building muscle quicker than I'm burning fat. On a plus note.... buns have never been steelier!

3.Leggings.... people seem to love or hate them. I think they will always have a place in my wardrobe- as namely as inexpensive workout wear and to pull on under my favourite cosy jumper on a weekend. FYI, if they're super cheap Primark ones though, they're likely to develop a minorly embarrassing hole in the crotch VERY quickly. Sorry, did I say it was only MINORLY embarrassing to have my undies on show to the A13 into central London at 0800..... yeah.

4. Mostly, the bike and I go to work and back. I haven't done much leisure cycling, and if I'm going to do shopping or what have you, I don't have the carrying capacity on my Beast to bring things home. I did cycle to the bank on my lunch break the other day though, and didn't bother tying my hair back. 5 mins each way, not a problem, I though, what could go wrong, I thought, a helmet is a helmet over a pony tail or loose hair, I thought. Shame I didn't account for the annoying little clouds of green fly, which I noticed crawling out of my hair for the rest of the afternoon. Oh I'm sexy and I know it.

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And lastly, my fifth and final overshare of the day.

5. Just because it looks like fun in films, riding through puddles isn't advisable. Especially if your bike is in super dire need of a clean. You will get mud and possibly grease all over your feet (as well as getting wet feet) and if your blind like me, you will miss bits in the shower. And then you will have dirty feet. And then your colleagues will point and laugh.

On a serious note- ALWAYS wear a helmet when you cycle, and this has never been more true in cities like London. If you should come off for any reason, it is more likely than not to save your life, and your life as you know it.

And pedestrians, please look before you step into big blue cycle lanes, or onto pavements with blue signs showing bikes and people. Most cyclists will try their very hardest to steer clear, but we can't stop magically and there should never be a need for you to walk into a designated cycle super highway. You are likely to get hurt, and to hurt the cyclist trying to swerve and not hit you. I will swear when I crunch the back of my ankle under a pedal swerving, my lovely iridescent trainers will end up scuffed, my feet will get wet because they are fabric shoes, and I will spend all weekend browsing pretty, multi coloured New Balance trainers. And on a slightly lesser note, your child/elderly mother/feet/suitcase WILL come off worse than my bike wheel.
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