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Mid-life fitness crisis

We grow up with our children – or should that be grow old? 

In my case, the latter feels depressingly true. Perhaps though, I have been working too much recently, comfort eating (mostly chocolate), and exercising little more than my fingers and wrists when writing. Overall personal fitness levels are at an all time low. I reckon I could still walk up a Scottish mountain – second wind would kick in – it always did in the past ... however, keeping up with the kids, who are probably as fit as they will ever be, is increasingly hard. It was so much easier when they were little, with little legs that matched, very neatly, my little energy. Now though, they are varyingly like gazelles, cheetahs or hares, even Littlest can keep going, long after I have poured the first glass of wine. Hmmm ... wine?

Anyway ... in an attempt to redress the energy or fitness balance, I have bought myself a new toy. Balance is, I admit, probably a little optimistic – raising the fulcrum a millimetre or so in my favour is more realistic.

Call me crazy – some of my family do, so you’d be in good company. But I had one of these when I was a student. It was a lovely bike – a Raleigh too, and as light as a feather. Why did I ever get rid of it? Okay, so that was about a zillion centuries ago. However, I thought this was a good plan and one way of avoiding almost certain death.

Let me explain, my other bike – the one I replaced my original road bike with - is a mountain bike and about as heavy as a horse and requiring of more horse-power to propel it along a road than my legs are capable of generating - even on a flat road. I read somewhere, in my frantic search for a new bike, that mountain bike tyres on tarmac are akin to cycling through thick treacle. Exactly! - exceedingly thick treacle, the treacliest treacle you can imagine! My new bike just has to be better than that. The proof is in the pudding they say ... just as long as it’s not a treacle pudding!

So I brought my new toy on holiday. 

Someone thought it would be a good idea for us all to go on family cycle trips – or was he addressing my waistline?

First ride planned for later today. This is likely to be the best day weather-wise (huh! we should have gone further south) so it is a case of grasping the nettle – only hope it doesn’t sting too much. I am a bit worried about the blade-like seat and the stinging that might induce.

Tyres pumped. After much huffing and puffing, I was shown how to release the valve (why do men smile in that ingratiating way reserved for little women who have got it wrong?) It was much easier after that!

Annoying toe-strap removed from right pedal – yes, I am a rather pedestrian, old(!!)-fashioned cyclist. Negotiated the discussion about it looking daft to have one pedal strapped and the other not –  I’m customising my bike! And I wish to prevent falling over when I stop and can’t get my right foot out of the strapping.

Trial run accomplished – about a mile, on my own, legs like jelly, palpitations, flushed pink with excessive vasodilation, glasses falling off my nose, helmet down the back of my neck. Wrecked! It was twenty minutes long!!!

We are about to leave ... for a five mile ride ... there and back ... with hills ... hope I’m here to tell the tale later.


  1. Very nice bike indeed! Hope you're still cycling on it! I'm in the market for one as I too have a mountain bike and roads are indeed like treacle!

    All the best!


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