Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I set myself a completely unrealistic target today. I decided that I'd cycle into town (about 7 miles), lock up my bike at the station and then get the train into Manchester. I had a route planned in my head which I'd convinced myself was more or less downhill. Plus, I'd planned to avoid the uphill slog home by catching a local train connection to the station in the next village.

Well, I set off and got less than a mile before the huffing, puffing and the sheer negativity generated by such a relatively modest degree of exercise had got the better of me. I returned home a mess. Now, I do need to lose a few pounds and am not aversed to exercise, I need to get my heart rate up 4 or 5 times a week, but I didn't need to put my heart monitor on to know that the exertion required to coax a mountain bike up and down the pennine terrain was likely to kill me.

I grew up near the seaside and used my bike every single day, riding for miles. But it was all flat! Round here, cycling is an absolute nightmare. You seem to hit an instant wall of self-hate well before any exercise generated endorphins deliver a wave of positivity and euphoria. So the bike's back in the garage. Indefinitely.

By the way, I'd psyched myself up to enjoying a nice train journey avec book and iPod only to be robbed of that by a combination of my own inadequacy and millions of years of volcanic activity rendering the local area a uncyclable(!), by me at least. Therefore, having failed to help myself but determined to help the environment, I drove to the next village to get the train and couldn't get a parking space for love nor money, so instead I spent my usual unproductive hour driving myself and no-one else over the tops and over the top.