I have ridden my bike today, but there’s only so much I can say when it comes to pootling between Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge, so instead I’m going to write about someone else’s bike riding. He’s probably going to be a bit embarrassed, but hopefully he’ll be quite chuffed. He should be. I don’t think he thinks there’s anything particularly special about what he’s been doing, but I do. In fact I think it’s bloody brilliant. I hope you do too…
Once upon a time there was a bloke with a belly. Not the product of huge excesses, just the kind of belly that lots of people grow over time. The kind that creeps up on over the years when you’re driving your kids from place to place, having a cheeky iced bun at work of an afternoon, and quietly consuming more calories than you’re burning.
Very quietly (so quietly that none of us realised), he stopped eating pies and cakes. Once or twice he rode his bike to work. It is a heavy beast, with a few rattles, and some jumpy cogs. I had a little tinker with it but it’s not really worth paying for new parts, so every ride comes with the added risk of a groin/crossbar incident if he hits the worn tooth at the wrong time.
After Christmas, he started riding his bike to work once a week – it’s only about 7.5km each way, and pretty flat. Then it was twice a week. We began to notice he was looking thinner. Then he started riding in 3 times a week, and going out at the weekend too. We began to suspect he might even be enjoying riding his bike. Now he wasn’t just thinning out a bit, he was disappearing. His clothes were getting not just comfortable, but falling off him, like a child in their older sibling’s clothing. It’s not surprising – he’s nearly 3 stone lighter. I’d have to look more closely than I really feel comfortable with to see his belly.
Last week, he had his first 100 mile week, and he’s stopped seeking out the flattest routes and isn’t afraid of the odd hill. He hasn’t adopted some crazy calorie restricted diet. He’s not joined a gym. He’s not even bought a fancy bike (though I really think he should treat himself to an upgrade). He’s just eaten a little healthier, and ridden his bike a lot more. The effect of these small changes is dramatic, and I’m bloody impressed. If ever there was an advert for how small changes to your lifestyle can have a big effect on your health, he is it.
30 days of biking is a good challenge, but 2 or 3 days a week of biking can be just as inspiring.