It is I suppose time for one of the mea culpa posts. But what I refuse to believe is that I am the only one guilty of the following crime, in my mind I believe this sin is as regular amongst cyclists as it is amongst fishermen (it was thiiiis big but it got away).
So what is this crime – that of exaggeration, we have all done it (I am hoping or I am going to look fairly shallow here) you know the line – I just cycled 25 miles - when in reality it was closer to 23, my average speed was 24 mph – when in reality it was closer to 21mph.
In my mind it is not a question of is this fibbing happening but more as to a question of how far it is going, is it endemic? OK I see nothing wrong in saying you cycled 11 miles when you did 10 in reality – it makes you feel a little fitter and that you have done that bit more and feel no more tired. But I have noticed this can get a little over the top – especially when it comes to speeds you are travelling.
As I have said before – I mostly travel on the flat at 21 mph – when tired or windy this can drop as low as 13 mph, if I really push it I can do 25mph – but this is not for too long. In my time I have not been blitzed pass when doing my usual 21mph by another cyclist more than 6 or 7 times (this over about 500 miles). Now I know professional cyclist really do travel much much faster – but you don’t normally meet professionals on the daily commute, most people are just like you and me – trying to get some exercise and trying to get home before the onset of cramps.
So what is the point of this post – and yes I do have a motive. As I explained before women are generally far more sensible and they travel at a pace that is right for them, but men generally are far more stupid, we really don’t like being left for dead! This competiveness – no matter how childish it seems is basically part of most of our DNA, and I think this fear of other people being so far ahead of you stops a lot of men from taking up cycling in the first place. I knew when I started that I was very unfit, yes I knew I would get better but I think, in my deep subconscious, I was afraid to start cycling as I would look so stupid. The truth of the matter is, for the first couple of months I only cycled at night time, then I knew no one would see me and there would not be an army of people rushing past me. I was more nervous about being made to look slow and unfit when I did my first morning commute amongst a bunch of other riders than I was about the large distance (comparatively speaking) I would have to cover.
So if you are a bloke like me – don’t be afraid of being overtaken, and know this – most cyclist indulge in fibbing to a greater or lesser extent – most people are average like you and me and not super human like some posts on the internet or across the water cooler at work. Know the distance to work and take a bit of time to cycle in the evening (and this does take dedication to keep up) build you distance up over time and the better speeds will come (if you want that) over the coming months. You will very quickly enjoy the increased fitness and improved lifestyle though.
Keep the faith Mambos!