Wednesday, 5 September 2012

All in the mind

The mornings are getting noticeably colder now although the damp Autumn air is also wonderfully fresh. There is a golden quality to Autumn sunlight that you just don't get at other times of year. Nevertheless I've not been feeing too well this week and it's been a bit of a mental battle to get on my bike in the morning. I have managed it though and the fresh air has been sorting out my rough chest quite nicely.

With cycling, as with many sports and activities, an awful lot depends on the mind. There is the obvious battle with oneself to get out and ride in the first place but recently I have been experiencing another.

I find that, geared as it is, my Dahon is good for an average speed of 12-13 mph. However, "pub wisdom" from fellow, generally lycra-clad, cyclists has it that 15 mph is the benchmark of acceptable average speed. This sums up the obsession with speed that many of us have with cycling. Any cyclist in front of us is a target to be overtaken, whereas when we are overtaken it's time to bring out the excuse book!

I myself find the latter situation the one to battle with. If a much faster cyclist on a racing bike passes me, my first instinct is to think about what I need to do to get that fast. Maybe a faster bike or a lighter load? Maybe my Dahon needs re-gearing? Maybe I should be using my hybrid (obviously with slimmer, faster tyres) etc, etc, etc...

Then mercifully, common sense kicks in and I realise that:

1. My bike has other, big advantages that a racing bike does not, especially for its primary purpose of commuting
2. "Pub wisdom" could just be a crock of bull
3. The other rider could well just be much fresher, faster and fitter than me and...
3. I don't really care that much that I've been overtaken!

It just goes to show though that mind games are an easy trap to fall into! Just ride the bike you have in the way you want to as often as you can and simply enjoy it. Life's too short for anything else!

My Dahon, chilling while waiting for the train. 
Those bar-ends are an absolute God-send!

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