I have always had a road bike and enjoyed the occasional foray into the surrounding Peak District but recently I have become much more of a regular cyclist. This has got me thinking, why has this happened?
I know the recent hype over cycling as a result of Bradley Wiggins and the Olympics has got people on their bikes more and made others get into it, but my recent increased uptake of cycling is a little different. I began working at CTC's office in Sheffield in May. Being around people who are into cycling has encouraged me to take a much greater interest in getting out and about.
My enthusiasm has transferred from me to my friends, who were also very occasional cyclists. They too have now bought themselves road bikes and come out to the Peak District with me regularly."
All this being said I do find cycling a strange past time, as I have always been a football man. Recently I have found myself 20 miles from home in the rain thinking “why do I do this again?”
A number of reasons quickly spring to mind. I know I am never going to win a medal or enter the Tour de France but I have always been competitive and although nowhere near the level of other cyclists I now find myself wanting to achieve something. So, I began to set challenges, against my self and other random people in the digital world.
This has culminated in me timing my ascents up Long Line Road (a 1 mile straight road just outside Sheffield) and comparing it to others on a cycling app called Strava . Happily, I found my time to be 8th best out of 200 people. 4 minutes 45 of pain but it gave me such feeling of achievement - I was hooked.
Why do I cycle?
I love being outside as it gets me out of the house. I find the fresh air clears my mind and the distance you can travel is amazing. I play football all around the Peak District and when driving to away games I am amazed at how long it takes in the car, I often think "blimey, I do cover some miles on my bike".
I think it can be a great social event as well. You can’t beat a leisurely ride and a bit of craic with your pals, maybe stop off at a pub for a bit of lunch; it makes a good Sunday.
The rewards of cycling transfer to other activities too. After 3 rides a week - a 90 minute football game on a Saturday is like a walk in the park now.
So, there are a lot of reasons why I ride my bike, and even though I sometimes question the sanity of it, it really adds an extra dimension to my life.