The feeling sorry for myself post!12
February 21, 2016 by welshcyclist
This is going to be rather self indulgent and self pitying, for which I apologise wholeheartedly to my reader out there.
It has been a rough couple of months, non stop rain, with only a couple of sunny days throughout. The result has been I have become an intermittent commuter, only travelling once or twice, at most a week, to and from work. The rain has made me lazy, slower and put me in a ” can’t be bothered frame of mind”. Where is my self discipline?
For years I have been the colleague they call mad, at work, who has cycled through deluge after deluge, arriving soaked through to the skin, but just got on with it, drying out my kit ready for the trip home. My mantra was “Rain ain’t pain!”. Where have those days gone?
Lots of things have been going on in my life as well. The lead up to my 65th birthday, could I afford to retire, what to do about pensions? If I had to work on, how much longer? Then I caught (like everyone else) a bad cough and cold, wheezing and spluttering, after, I believe catching a chill. My own fault of course, failing to get washed and changed immediately after arriving home soaking wet, having cycled through one of those constant deluges. I made the drastic mistake of sitting down and devouring my dinner before getting washed and dry! Serves me right!
Then a strange one. I caught an infection in my right leg? What caused it, I have no idea? But it was no joke, having the limb swell up to twice its normal size, and having a rash like scald marks all over it. When I cycled, it swelled even more. Fortunately, a two week course of prescribed antibiotics has brought it back to normality, and I have recovered my confidence to actually wear my shorts again. I mean I didn’t want to frighten the public as I rode by, did I?
On top of that, things are changing at home, two of my three sons, are moving out. Two have fled the nest before, only to return again, one after a sad divorce, and the other because of the cruellest way an employer, in this case a university, can chew up and spit out a hard working and loyal employee. One of the two is the baby of the family, first time to leave, at the ripe old age of 37.
They have bought a house to share in the next valley, i.e., the Swansea valley, in the village of Ystradgynlais, just over the mountain from us. They have been very lucky in their search for a property, because, as her indoors says, she would move in there tomorrow, given the chance. And I have to agree with her, I could forget about all the DIY jobs I need to do here. Her indoors also said that I could ride the 10 miles over the mountain to visit, and help out on my bike. Doah! I dislike sustained hill climbing on the bike, and it is a real grind both ways. For me that route has always looked too forbidding, because, in the decade plus of my cycling around here I have never tried that route. That’s just the wimp inside me.
Anyway, the two boys have been moving out slowly over the past two weeks, and have spent their first couple of nights in their new home over this weekend. This has meant some tears from her indoors, because of two empty bedrooms and so on. Being a man? I just try not to think about it.
On the plus side though, there is going to be a lot more room for my bikes and gear. Stuff we had been saving for the boys’ when and if they ever moved out, has started to disappear from my, now, two sheds. I will be able to set up my bike stand and work on my bikes, in the dry. Not that my mechanical skills have suddenly improved, but, hopefully, practise will make perfect.
But let’s get back to the point! I am not cycling enough, I have been getting lazy, suffering both a lack of self discipline and will power, and have been all too willing to blame it on the rain, coughs and colds, leg infections, middle aged men moving out, and so on, and so on. Someone needs to give me a right kick up they ass!
You have a few years on me, I’m roughly the age of your kids and I see my future probably not too different from yours, though my TODO lists are long and plentiful already and I do vow to rid our house of the kids before they are 25.
I was off work with real flu for 11 days earlier this month (mainly to avoid spreading the virus), on my first day back I took the bike to work, not because I particularly wanted to ride the 12 miles to work that morning, but because we only have one car and the wife needed it. Having no access to a car certainly forces my hand and prevents the lazy side of me coming out.
Your leg infection is a perfectly valid reason to rest and not ride. Don’t beat yourself up over that.
Winter isn’t the fun filled commute I wish it was, but I still enjoy it and prefer it over driving, sure soaking rain and car spray in the face as they overtake isn’t nice, but that’s not all the time and I love how fun the snow can be (still hoping this year). Ice is another risk, I ride with winter tyres that grip in the ice, they are slow and heavy, but as a colleague who is critical of my bike found out, I got to work without falling off, he fell off because he doesn’t have ice tyres.
People often ask how I motivate myself to use the bike when the weather is bad, my reply normally involves stating how fun it still is, how awful I find driving is, cost, health etc, but mostly it’s just a good habit I have.
You just need to reform the habit.
Thanks Tim, you have reminded me of a few things. One, I really enjoy my time on the bike, even in the heavy rain, but I will not ride when ice is about. Two, my option to take the car is far too easy, her indoors does not drive, and so it is there just waiting to be used. Sad but true, as I drive the 20 miles to work, I usually take the route of my cycle commute and miss the pedalling. I must be masochistic not cycling. Tomorrow, I’ll be getting on that saddle, not to commute but to try and get back in the swing, or should I say the cycle, of things. Thanks for your comment, Cheers.
If your wife keeps control of her chauffeur’s keys then you’d have to ask for special permission to take the car without her in it 🙂
40 miles is a lot of fuel money that she would, as anyone would, love to spend on something nice for herself I’m sure.
I’m impressed by your mileage too, if I’d have to go further I’d get a bit bored, I chose my new job because it was on the limit, up to an hour and I’m ok, when I did more it was boring, less than half an hour and it didn’t seem enough. How long does it take you?
On a good day about an hour and 20 minutes, on a bad day another 20 minutes on top, but I have done it in an hour and a quarter. I can hear all the roadies laughing out loud! Speed doesn’t worry me too much, but currently, because I’ve missed a lot of commutes lately, I am much slower, about the hour and 40 minutes for the last few trips. My garmin vivoactive watch gives me the bad news of how slow I travel these days, 9-11 mph. I am definitely not a racer. I can honestly say, I never get bored of my commute. Mainly, it is a straight forward down and back up this beautiful Neath valley. There are three options I have at my disposal, four if you include the dual carriage A465 down to Neath, I tried it once, but with cars and lorries passing me at 70 mph plus, I got scared, really scared. Then there is the eastern side of the valley, which consists of a very hilly, up and down windy road, with cars still going too fast without knowing what’s coming round the corner i.e., me on my pioneer. Again, I was scared!
There’s the canal tow path which runs from Glynneath to Neath, unfortunately, this isn’t well maintained, gets too muddy, too narrow, and also on very lonely sections, in the middle of nowhere, I’ve come across, what I would describe as weirdos in army fatigues etc., people I’d rather not meet, in the dark of winter mornings and nights. Scary!! This leaves me with the B4242, which runs down the west side of the Neath valley, less up and down, less windy, no weirdos, cars still going too fast , but what I consider my best option as far as Neath, then there is a dedicated NCR to Port Talbot where I work. Well, I was explaining that I never get bored of my ride, basically, because most of my commute is rural, and I get to see loads of wildlife, foxes, badgers, rabbits, even otters, and all sorts of birdlife. I think that’s enough for now. Cheers.
An average of 12 mph on a normal bike in winter with the geography you have isn’t bad, with wind and rain and overheating or getting cold, I don’t fair that much better and I’m doing less miles with less climbing. I’m 13-14 mph mostly. Summer is at least 2 mph quicker, on a good day 17mph is possible. 18 mph maybe once a year on my bike. I chose my bike for consistency and laziness, not for speed and ongoing maintenance woes 🙂
We’ve all tried what we now know are scary roads that should be avoided. Thankfully we survived and know better now.
I can only sympathise. After what seems likes months of appalling weather, I am finding it hard to get motivated to get the bike out in wind and rain. If we don’t get some decent weather soon, I will be too fat to get on the bike at all. Keep smiling.
Yes, I know what you mean, those few extra pounds gained over Christmas are still about my person. The good news is I spent 40 minutes at our local gym, appropriately named, “Train Station”, well for a railway signaller like me, anyway. 10 minutes on a cross trainer, 10 minutes on a stationary cycle ( so boring ), and then various body weight exercises, and 5 minutes trying to punch a bag. Phew!!! Then, I took the sensible option of a gentle pedal up to Pontneddfechan, and home to a big breakfast. Feeling really great. Cheers, and smiling a lot.
By the way the punch bag won on a technical knock out!
Train station is witty. Well done for doing the boring work there and keeping a smile on your face. I’ll need a few weeks of good weather to get my weight back down to where it should be.
Thanks for the encouragement, but can I keep it up? Is the question. It was a long day yesterday, that finished with an extra long choir practise last night, and the short pedal home. This morning my gammy left leg is paying the price for those exertions. Tomorrow, I will attempt another “Train Station” visit, gently does it. Getting very frosty in these parts again, it seems winter is returning. The birds don’t know what’s happening, some have built nests, thinking spring has sprung, and, sadly, I have seen several dead chicks that have fallen from nests in house eaves. Is this all down to El nino, global warming, or a natural planetary cycle? I’ve no idea, and I don’t believe a word the politicians have to say about the subject. Cheers.
El Nino combined with global warming seems to be the best bet. The jet stream is all over the place.
I haven’t seen any dead chicks yet so maybe it hasn’t been warm enough here to get the birds building nests.
Is your choir going in for a competition?