Friday, 16 November 2012

Skríobh's Guide to Being a Happy Cyclist

There's a happy medium to be found in cycling, somewhere between the incessant, unbridled, ramblings of the "enthusiast cyclist" and the Belgian truck drivers who only stop for cyclists to remove them from the undercarriage of their articulated death-machine. This joyful place is the spirit of cycling; the happiness one can only enjoy in the refusal to comply with gravity and friction's demands; that your feet will not be the only source and power of your travels.

Cycling fits a neat space of human ingenuity in being ridiculously fun and effortlessly practical. It's part of a scientific marvel: a balancing act on dainty wheels; the faster you travel, the less you're concerned about balancing. It defies intuition and polishes the soul, a triumph of man and machine combined in wheeltacular motion.

There are however, the inconveniences and perils of the outdoors, your own fitness and the grim realities of drying the arse of your jeans in a disabled toilet in university after being caught in the rain to contend with. With this in mind, we've set out the most simple set of advice we could think of for enjoying the wonders of cycling.

1. Ireland is incessantly cold, wet and windy. Being warm, dry and windproof is a novelty which never wears off. Buy/wear appropriately. 

2. Clean and lubricate your bike once a week. A clean bike is a working bike. A working bike is a bike you'll want to explore the world on.

3. Some cycling should be done uncomfortably quickly. Some cycling should be done for uncomfortably long.
Never, ever both at the same time.

4. Learn how to cycle near other cyclists, pedestrians and traffic. This only comes with experience and must be earned. There isn't much help to be found on the internet on understanding the intricacies of this velo-ballet. Surround yourself with people who've more experience than you and are willing to share that wisdom.

5. Eating healthily pays off. Drink less alcohol. Drink more water. Milk is good too. Supplements are expensive and unnecessary. The same can be said of expensive equipment. The first man to run a sub-four-minute mile had a watch, a field and a big bag of training. No magic Garmin watch or carbon frame will ever be the making of a happy cyclist.

6. Set your goals. Be honest with yourself. Train appropriately. Achieve.

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