6 Things I Never Considered Cycling

I love cycling. It’s my transport, it’s my freedom, it gives me great cardio and helps sculpt my quads.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s environmentally friendly and cheap to run after initial cost, locks, replacement tyres, inner tubes, lights and locks, chain oil and weekly car washes (mine gets dirty quickly using the beach bike lanes in and out the city thanks to wind and sand). Living in a city it’s just a quick as a car in traffic. Plus I never have to pay for parking and there’s always somewhere a parking space! It’s not so nice during the winter in wind and rain. That said minus the rain if you have a tail wind you’re laughing.

I love cycling, however there are some factors I never considered when I started cycling as transport;

I get through leggings and shorts quickly.

Leggings get shiny seat patches that no amount of washing can remove. If I can cover them up I’m okay, but if my tops skims or my jacket isn’t long enough I get self conscious that my bum has 2 large shiny patches that everybody can see. Similarly with denim shorts in the summer months. In addition to the fabric fading from wear, if I don’t clean the seat, I get discoloured patches, that again no amount of washing or stain remover can remove!

If you have fine hair say goodbye to cycling with free flowing locks.

It gets quite windy here and if my hair’s down the wind can strip the moisture out of it. Not to mention the tangles. I now wear a baseball cap (helmet on long rides) to prevent cow licks and looking like I’ve been dragged through a bush backwards. On advice of my hairdresser, wear my hair in a plait. Such chicness.

Always with a rucksack.

No cute handbags for me. If I’m not cycling to the gym, I go for cross body bags big enough for my purse, phone, mirror, hand sanitiser, lip balms and spare hairbands. The rest, as in water, snacks, make up, camera, beach stuff in the summer has to go in a larger bag. I did used to use a larger shoulder bag and place the bag in a basket. I gave up with the basket when people started using it as a bin. Drink cans, water bottles and the final straw a used nappy/diaper not even in a nappy/diaper bag. It was removed after that incident. Add that the basket wasn’t strong enough to hold what I put in in anyway and kept breaking. Now nearly every where I go I have a rucksack with the chest clips. It’s practical, fits the smaller bag in side but forget it when its comes to looking stylish. It kinda takes away the look, but what can I do? I like cycling, I have to find away of carrying everything around.

Ventilation

That rucksack again. It never lets the air in. In summer you think of cycling and an amazing breeze cooling you down. Add a rucksack you can kiss that goodbye. In the winter as I dress for off the bike, I can get hot quickly cycling (translate, running late) and as the sweat can’t evaporate properly it can turn to cold pretty quickly. Nice when it’s cold and you’re walking around with a cold damp back.

Bobble and pilling marks. 

Similar to shiny patches, thanks to the rucksack, coats, jackets, tops too can get shiny patches. The straps and bottom of the rucksack cause tops, coats, jackets to bobble or pill.

I feel like a bag lady.

With no boot/trunk to put things in, whatever can’t be fitted in the rucksack, goes in bags over the handle bars. If I’ve been grocery shopping after the gym, those bags including gym bags can be heavy. Add the 3 locks, yes 3 as the tyres are quick release and I like my seat that have to fitted somewhere on the bike. The bike can get heavy quickly. My poor bike!

Seriously though, I love cycling and as transport. These cons aside, if you cycle as opposed to taking public transport or walking, the places you can go just got a little bit bigger!

Do you cycle? What are your cons and pros of cycling or your favourite type of fitness or sport?

8 comments

  1. I have so much respect for you Natalie that your bicycle is your transportation.

    I really enjoy cycling and do it more for fitness. I wish it could be a greater part of my main transportation instead of a car. It is 45k’s each way to work, unfortunately I would need to leave 2 hours early to get there on time.

    The country side where I live has very scenic back roads that is frequented by cyclists. The majority of the time it is people from the city who actually drive out with their bikes on a bike rack, they would park their vehicle and cycle in the country in my area.

    To my understanding Canada is quite a bit behind Europe in being “bike friendly” in the cities. Bike paths are just now getting introduced, but the fact that it snows for up to 6 months of the year does make cycling more seasonal.

    This is a great post Natalie. Even with a sweaty back, dishevelled hair and heavy bags you are #1 in my books. This is amazing, and an inspiration to me.

    Thanks you for sharing! 🙂

    ~Carl~

    1. Aw, thank you! Cycling here or in Europe like you say is more bike friendly. More so the last few years. I remember when I first moved here about 11 years ago, taxi’s didn’t like cyclists much or know to give space. When I moved back after France a few years ago it was like cycling here had exploded, with the taxis and cars giving much more space and respect.

      I can only image what it would be like to cycle on Canadian trails! We once trail biked through the Smokeys Mountains in North Carolina USA and in a National Park in Florida. So much fun! People here too drive so far and bike or catch the train then bike. Cycling as transport however in the city’s big business (as are the bike thieves). Sometimes there are no spaces to lock it! But I don’t think I’d like to do a 90km commute everyday!

      I’ve just purchased a new rucksack which is meant to have more ventilation. We’ll see!

      Have great week! Have you signed up for any sky running yet?!

      1. Hi Natalie, yeah my last 50k was part of the Canadian Skyrunner Series. The same place as I did my 1st 25k trail race last year, but this year to make it a part of this series the course added more elevation and a lot more technical terrain. It was really tough, but got through it! Here is the link, the one I did was the Creemore Vertical Challenge http://skyrunning.ca/ 🙂

        It is really cool that you have witnessed changes for the better (except for the bike thieves) in cycling. Hoping in time Canada will become that way. There is a new law to take effect on Sept. 1st where cars have to give cyclists 3 feet when they pass. And wow, you have biked in the Smokey Mountains. That is supposed to be so beautiful in there.

        The trails here are really nice. I ride them as part of my cross training but as I mentioned it is for fitness. The one who deserves the accolades and acknowledgement is yourself. This is so cool what you do with your bike as your transportation. Look up to you so much.

      2. You’re too kind. Cycling as transport is the norm for so many people here! Cars here have to give by law 1.5 metre space (think that’s about 3 ft). Most do, but there’s always one!
        I’ve got to give it to you sky running. Spartan Beast is 21k in the mountains. I prefer trails to tarmac so I’m hoping I enough the distance/day more than training. Do you walk parts of it or just keep on going?! Have a great rest of the week 🙂

      3. That is amazing, the 1.5 metres is closer to 5 feet. (a metre is 3.3 feet) Nice to see that law. Even having that 3 foot law is a breakthrough in Canada.

        I really hope you are able run the Spartan Beast. The name itself sounds very gruelling and challenging. I know you have in times past mentioned your preference to the trails.

        I definitely walk some of the course. During the steep parts, running is really not much faster than walking, but you are wearing yourself down that much faster.

        It is an entirely different experience from road races. Depending on the terrain your times may end up taking anywhere from 50% to 100% longer than a regular road half marathon. Once you finish one trail race event, you will looking for another one.

        Most often these events do not have public transportation, simply because of the location. I am part of a facebook group called “Run Trails Ontario”, and there is often a post of someone looking for a ride to an event, and they always are successful. There should be something like that around Barcelona I am thinking.

        Have a great rest of the week yourself! 🙂

      4. Barcelona’s very close the Pyrenees and Catalonia’s full of mountains. You need a car to get to them however. I’m sure there are many trail running groups arounds, it’s making the commitment!

        I’m definitely walking parts of Spartan. Last year I did with the Super. The quickest Beast time yet is around 2.30hr for an elite runner with average time for us non elites taking between 4-8hrs! I’m all booked up and am getting excited. I just hope I have enough energy and room of gels, snacks in my hydration pack! I’ll be replenishing water at the aid stations for sure! Have a great rest of the week too! 🙂

  2. I cycle but not that much. I use the public bikes which you can borrow with a card and use them for free for 1 hour (and a small fee if longer). I use them to go to the mall!

    Cow lick haha! Do people say that in English? I know it is widely used in Spanish! Parece que te ha lamido una vaca jajaja

    1. We have them here: Bicing. I think you sign up for a monthly membership and any ride over 30 mins you start to pay extra. There are parking bays all over the city and new ones keep popping up!

      Yes, we say cow licks in English and I find them so annoying and difficult to tame! Spanish girls are so much better at taming theirs than me 🙂

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