May 16, 2020 by welshcyclist
It has been a very long time since welshcyclist posted, but I am going to try and make time to keep this blog up to date. I am now 69 years of age, still working as a signalman at Port Talbot signal box, and currently only commute by bicycle half way back and forth, approximately nine miles each way. To be honest I struggle to keep it going on my Pioneer, and I cannot fathom how I used to manage when I cycled all the way there and back, roughly 20 miles each way??
A DVT episode put me on the sick three years ago, for a few months, it was then that I kind of lost the habit of riding my bike. On top of that, the non activity of not commuting by bike made me lazy, or should I say even more lazier. I put back on weight that I had lost while I commuted that 40 miles a day, and felt unfit, sluggish and sorry for myself.
I knew what I had to do, it was simple…..or was it?
I had to get back riding my bike regularly. It’s amazing when I rode it seemed to give me more energy, I slept much better and I burnt off all those calories that signallers like myself love to consume.
Just like when I first built up to commute by bike, after not riding a bike for 30 plus years it has been a long haul. I had a lot more enthusiasm for the task back then, but this time round it has been harder, because I know I had put myself back 10 years or more physically. Piled back on at least two hard lost stones, and feeling lethargic most of the time.
Yes, put simply I needed to get back to where I was three years ago. I’ve been trying, not as hard as I know I can or should.
Possibly, because I am older?
My head tells me to discount that straight away, but should I? It’s the usual story, I suppose, in my head I am still twenty something, but my knees and sluggishness tells me otherwise.
Possibly, because my life is more complicated?
This probably rings quite true. I should be slowing down to retirement. In reality I was due to retire 4 years ago, but changes to our pension scheme put paid to that, and to retire without her indoors and myself having to struggle, I need to keep going till next year?? We’ll see. But I am fortunate, I enjoy my job and still feel healthy enough to do it, even if I don’t feel as good as I did three years ago.
I have a twin sister who has had the misfortune to suffer from MS which means she is stuck in a wheelchair, has to be cared for, and lives, as she tells me, with her mind in a constant fog. It weighs heavily on me, and is very upsetting.
Of course this current coronavirus pandemic exacerbates everything.
Where am I in this attempt to restore myself back to where I was three years ago.
I have been quite successful in getting back to commuting, and now do it regularly, albeit less than half the distance I used to do. As I earlier stated I marvel at how I used to do the full commute 20 miles each way with a 12 hour shift in the middle. Up at 04.00 in bed by 21.30 at the latest.
Asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
Loads of energy.
Fantastic, no wonder I want to get back there.
Two or three hours a day on the bike in all weather (except snow and ice), is the answer. Riding a bike is just as good as it gets, without doubt.
But there is something holding me back, I no longer feel safe riding the roads. Currently, I stick to the canal tow path and dedicated cycleways from Neath to my work. Cycling through a small town such as Neath has changed for the worse. I used to put up with the occasional frightening close pass by impatient drivers, and the odd bit of verbal abuse.
But now it happens every time I ride through the town, and it feels very uncomfortable.
To get back to the full commute in appropriate timings would mean riding the roads in traffic, I don’t feel I can.
So my comeback is on hold, for now.
Part commute rules.
(Got carried away with this, my post was originally to be about my bike ride today.)