No Excuse for Not Cycling
The final touches for my book on cycling (in Dutch, in stores May 6th), have been the main reason for my absense on T/S the last couple of weeks. I hope I can make up by translating part of this book for you. It’s full of tips and tricks on buying, repairing and riding bikes and contains loads of anecdotes from my own experience. Furthermore, it helps you decide what clothes to wear, what food to eat and how to improve yourself as a cyclist.
The title of the book is just “Cycling”, although it might as well have been “No Excuse For Not Cycling”, as I spread 30-something well known excuses throughout the book. I’ve tried to debunk every one of them. A selection of them might be a good starter for national bicycle month.
1. Bad Weather
There is no such thing as bad weather for a cyclist. When it’s raining, the raindrops will get you wet; when the sun shines, your own sweat will do the trick. Either way, after a nice shower all your problems will be washed away. If it is too cold, just wear some extra clothing (don’t forget your overshoes). And if it is too hot, be sure to take a lot of water with you. After they finished their ride, complaining about the circumstances is a rare phenomenon among cyclists. Instead they will brag about the cold, the heat, the rain, the everything – in the mean time re-enjoying every meter of the ride they just finished.
2. I’ll make a longer trip tomorrow
Typical excuse from the excuse-specialist. Today is the day! Get up on your bike and take that ride. You’ll be happy at the end of it and you know what, you can still make that longer trip tomorrow.
3. I don’t know what to do with a flat tire
First of all: flat tires are an exception. I ride about 15,000 kilometers a year and have about three or four flat tires. Furthermore, if you always take a new tube with you, the changing is a piece of cake: it’s done in only 5 to 10 minutes. Other complications are very rare too, but be sure to take your mobile phone, so you can get assistance if things get really out of hand. Just like you would do while driving your car.
4. Cycling is tiring
It may look like it, but it isn’t the case. In fact, cycling gives you energy. The cyclist wins strength every day. Not only physically, also mentally. The harder the effort, the sharper the mind. Your boss will be happy too: the more you ride, the better your performance at work.
5. The wind is always against me
Cycling is a lot like life: sometimes circumstances are in favor, sometimes they are against you. But never all the time. Especially if you ride a circle, your own direction will change more often than the wind will ever do. Mathematically spoken, there is as much wind in your face as there is in your back. But most of the time it is somewhere in between. If it is not blocked by something like a building or a forest. Not to speak of all the occasions that there is no wind at all. The person that keeps saying he always has the wind against him, will just have to start counting. On his bike, that is.
6. I don’t have my car for nothing
Hey, that’s true, you didn’t buy your car to leave it in the garage. Just like they didn’t invent trains, plains and space shuttles without reason. That’s precisely why bikes are around. They don’t compete with cars, because they have another purpose.
7. I don’t have the cash for a good bike
If you visit an average bicycle store, you can easily get the impression that you need an awful lot of money for some good biking. And that real achievements are only possible after donating a couple of thousand dollars for a bicycle and another one thousand for clothing and shoes. Not to speak about the computers that will show you the way through your neighbourhood. Nonsense. Most second hand bikes – the ones that can be found in the attic at your mother-in-law’s – will do. And if you don’t find one there, try Craigslist. Either way, you don’t have to spend much. Only be very sure the bike is still safe to ride on. And if, after a couple of months, your cycling ambition is still growing, there is enough time to visit the store where your dreambike is on sale. You will have had the advantage of having saved some more money.
8. First I have to go on a diet
Another one from the professional excuse-finder. If you feel you have gained too much weight, there is no better reason to take the bike. You’re losing time every day, so hop on your bike very quickly. You can always go on a diet afterwards. Be careful though to go cycling with too little nutrition. An athlete needs good food to be able to perform. Your body needs it. It is burned away in the action, so there’s no need to be afraid that you gain weight again.
9. I’m a woman
Cycling is as fun for women as it is for men. Moreover, men and women can do it very well together. For a young couple in love, there is no better way to spend their vacation than cycling through southern states.
10. It’s bad for my sperm production
A former world cycling champion once said that the only time his private parts felt badly, was outside of the cycling season. “Just ask my wife”, he was quoted by the interviewer. Moreover: cycling is historically strong in catholic parts of the world. And in China. Do I need to say more?