Why cycle ?

Last Thursday morning I was standing in the shop when an old school friend walked in . He does a lot of running and was in to get a few energy gels . We were chatting or ‘ shooting the breeze ‘ as former Discovery team members would say  , when he asked me why cycling seemed to be getting more and more popular . I had to stop and think for a while as to the cause of the surge in cycling popularity at present and here are a few of the reasons that came to me :

1 . Cycling is open to everybody .

Because it is not a team sport , anyone with a half decent bike can hop on the machine outside their door at whatever time suits and head out for a spin . If you are tall or small , thin or addicted to burgers you can still ride a bike .  Age is no barrier as the bebo generation can enjoy a  cycle just as much as someone who remembers world war 2 , as can anyone in between .

2 . Cycling is good for your health .

People who cycle , in general , enjoy a fitness level of the average person ten years younger . Cycling at least twenty miles per week reduces the risk of heart disease by over 50 % . Unlike running it is low impact  , so can be enjoyed long after the knees have begun to shout ‘No’ to any suggestion of going for a run . Cycling just like swimming is a fantastic way to loose weight but how many people can swim to work .

  1. Cycling is good for your wallet .

In the current climate of soaring petrol and diesel prices and exorbitant parking prices the bike is a fantastic alternative . The running cost of the average family car driver who commutes twenty miles each day to a city centre location now exceeds €2500 . A good commuting bike which may cost between 3 – €400 costs on average €125 per annum to maintain including tyres and brake blocks . Then there is the other side of things where a car enthusiast can rarely afford a Ferrari but an average cycling enthusiast can afford the Ferrari of bikes .

All of the above are great reasons to cycle but for most of us the reason we cycle is because of what I call ‘Floaters’ !

A floater can be one of two things  ,

1 – A warm summer day without a cloud in the sky . You walk out the front door in shorts and short sleeves and throw your leg over your freshly cleaned machine . The calm breeze gently cools your face as you head over the Comeraghs towards Bonmahon where you turn right . You then follow the coast all along as far as Ardmore before stopping to eat an ice cream on the sea wall . You head for home and passing through Ballymac decide to turn right and finish the spin with a nice gallop up The Nire . You arrive back at your front door five hours after you left and the legs feel as though you could do it all again . That’s ‘Floater’ number one .

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2 – It’s wet and windy in early January . You meet the group coming up from carrick and hear the murmur of a spin down the coast towards Tramore . You dont’ mind as you feel strong . The group slowly diminishes in size from fifty to forty to thirty and finally as you pass through Annstown their are only fifteen left in place . There is a hill up out of the seaside village but there is no time to look at the sea as the clouds darken and Rory throws it up onto the big ring .  There follows a brief period of clicks , rattles , grunts and moans before an eery silence descends . The group of fifteen has been reduced to three as you crest the final hill on the coast road . The legs are sore , you’re on your limit but you still manage to roll through and do your turn at the front . Once more you arrive back at your front door feeling OK . You could do another hour but not any more than that . That’s ‘floater’ number 2 and what both of these have in common is that it takes a huge amount of dedicated training to get to that level , but when you do it’s all more than worth it for the sense of satisfaction and the feeling of being super fit that accompanies the occasion .

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With the right amount of training any cyclist can experience a ‘floater’ and that’s why cycling is becoming more and more popular all of the time !


5 thoughts on “Why cycle ?

  • June 24, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Good post. I think the bike has repeatedly been voted the top invention ever. Cycling is simply good fun.

  • June 25, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    When I was a nipper cycling was something all young people enjoyed. I’m glad cycling it getting more popular again and I think that it will explode in popularity over the next 6 months to a year with the price of fuel at the moment. Happy Days.

  • August 11, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    Just getting back into cycling after years of child rearing. Its great to get fit in an enjoyable away especially around Co.Waterford!Have an old touring reynolds frame bike which is what I am doing the tour on. Wld you th

  • August 11, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    Should I get new road bike? Great site! Its great to see so many out cycling!

  • August 13, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Hi Cathy ,

    It might be a good idea to have a bike shop service your bike before the tour . It should be fine depending on what distance you are taking part in .
    Most importantly , enjoy the day !



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