Tag Archives: MAMIL

So… I may have accidently joined a Gym…

I have been watching the light fade these last few days…I’ve been watching it fade earlier and earlier and wondering what I am going to do for exercise now that “winter is coming”

The options seem to be either I embrace the dark and cycle in it; obtain a turbo trainer and attach my bike to it…or a bike to it; or go over to the dark side and join a gym

Now I am not keen on exercise as you have probably gathered by now. The cycling is ok as its exercise by default mostly it is about being outside on the bike and seeing the world I miss when I speed by in the car. Joining a gym would be exercise for exercise sake, personal bests, targets, pushing yourself more each week in fact possibly all the things I probably need… but at a gym you can’t pretend you are doing anything else but exercising (except when swimming).

So canvassing views from the office MAMIL’s I get a surprisingly mixed view of cycling in the dark…one absolutely embraces it, says as long as you have a good lighting set up then there is nothing wrong and he loves it… mind you he thinks I’m weird because I like cycling in the rain…another does it but with some fear and trepidation and the third just won’t go there.

I have just upgraded my lighting set up. Not because I am going to embrace the night but because colleague 1 convinced me my lights were inadequate. Yes my original lights make me legal but choosing them because they look cute, are in fetching shades of purple and were very very cheap was apparently not the criteria I should have used…

4 years as a personal injury lawyer (many many years ago… I am reformed !), plus the fact that I would be a girl alone at night on country roads are possibly the greater negatives for me on cycling at night. (the older you get the scareder you get but weirdly more confident about other things !)

I haven’t ruled out a turbo trainer. I suspect it will require 2 bikes as I fear that attaching it and unattaching it will be too much faff for me as I don’t intend to give up my outside cycling entirely. A friend has one she doesn’t use and is lending it to me over the winter in exchange for dinner this Saturday.

So that left the gym. Which is an unknown quantity as I have reached the ripe age of 44 having never darkened the door of one. However my enlightened colleague also mentioned that he did not thinking that cycling was enough and that I should think about cross training…

Now apart from the fact I hate exercise I have always found the offers and contract relating to gyms and gym membership rather confusing. Take our local one which is simultaneously offering membership for £1 and join now get 3 months free… feeling thoroughly confused I decided to email the local leisure centre for an explanation and ask about their group cycling (whether it was suitable for exercise refusniks) … and amazingly within about 90 minutes they responded which is how I found myself on Tuesday night puffing away like a sweaty out of breath thing on a stationary bike

It was a trial session but there were no concessions for being a newbie… you were just tipped straight into the fray…

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Why  I don’t cycle on Wednesdays

For some reason cycling clubs seem to like the roads round our village and usually on a Wednesday the roads are peppered with people in lycra until after about 9pm.

When I puff by in my t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms I can feel the disapproval coming after me in waves… how dare I be sharing the roads with these serious cyclists… don’t I realise what the need to get round me will do to their times !!! How dare I be seen on a bike without a ludicrous amount of lycra…

I had naively assumed that cycling was a broad church that welcomed all comers and we were all equal in the eyes of other cyclists…oh how wrong can a slug be…

I haven’t tried cycling off road yet so I don’t know if I will be welcomed by MTBers but the road lot really don’t like seeing a slug on a hybrid pedalling along as fast as she can go. As for the more specialised bike shops and how the staff react when you get a middle age couple nosing around… well (and I don’t just mean the Daventry one I mentioned some time ago)!

OK I know not all cyclists are quite so snobbish. I am fortunate to work for an organisation that promotes cycling as a form of low carbon transport. We also have quite a few rock climbing acquaintances who are keen cyclists and will happily share their knowledge about different models/brands/equipment… even though they are usually at different ends of the price bracket to us.

Generally I find that if you talk to someone who cycles on a one to one basis they are fine but if you come across a group of cyclists forget it… they are just not very welcoming. Is this a new thing or has it always been there ? Having had very little to do with bikes or cyclist since the age of 18 I have no way of telling

That aside, if I have to cycle on a Wednesday then I avoid the routes I know will be infested… it’s taken me a lot of personal courage to get this far and I can do without grumpy men in tights thinking they own the roads…