Sunday, 20 April 2014

April Adventures

This month I've discovered that I really like cycling. This is mainly because it has been glorious weather here in Edinburgh and no doubt as soon as the rain comes I'll change my mind. A bit of sunshine evidently does wonders for your motivation to train as I'm itching to get out there and do something active. All I need is for this perfect weather to continue until August although somehow I don't think that the Scottish weather is that kind.

The very elusive Scottish sun - how long it shall stay nobody knows.

On Wednesday the sun was streaming through my window at work, casting a glimmer across my computer screen and warming my face slightly. I felt a little flutter of excitement as I had the idea to go out exploring on my bike that evening. I looked up some of the routes which follow the cycle paths in Edinburgh and quickly discovered that the cycle path nearest to my house leads to Cramond which I'd heard nice things about so I thought that a venture down was called for. It was also a nice coincidence that the route was 20km, the exact distance of the Triathlon cycle. It was perfect, and thus my decision was made.

The eagle eyed will notice that the purple warrior appears to have been replaced. It's true. Sad times

It will seem quite glib perhaps, but there was something about this cycle that reinvigorated me. I'd felt so terribly bored with training, so bored of set distances on the stationary bike and treadmill, cycling and running to nowhere, that to actually get out and feel the sun on my face and the wind in my hair was a revelation. I was surprised at how easily my legs pedalled, even making light work of the few hills that I came across, rewarded after the climb by a quickening of pace downhill.

There's something about cycling that reminds me of my youth and relieves me of the burden of exercise. For a long time, perhaps longer than I care to admit, I've exercised as a punishment. A punishment for eating too much, a punishment for a body which doesn't look as I wish it to look. I feel like this about running. There is little enjoyment in it for me. I began running before I had even become a teen in a bid to melt away the puppy fat I carried. As the fat melted, I kept up the running in a vain attempt to keep a few paces ahead of what I'd left behind but there was no love lost between us. Yes, sometimes I have the urge to go out and run, but more often than not it is an obligation, a chore, an adult task stripped of any element of joy.

Cycling is different. As a child I cycled for the sheer joy of it and often was allowed to cycle further than I would normally be able to wander without adult guidance. It allowed me to explore parts of the countryside normally just seen fleetingly through the window of a car and it allowed me to indulge my sense of adventure. Often, I have a feeling that the days were warmer in my childhood than they are now, that the world more beautiful and exciting but I realised during my cycle on Wednesday that I'm just looking at my surroundings through different eyes now and that in fact the days are still warm, the world still beautiful and the adventures are still there to be had should I care to look for them - and I'm out looking for them now.

Over the past week, I've been out for two cycles and have discovered parts of Edinburgh that I have never seen before. I'm itching to get out there again and find more places to explore, more sights to take pictures of. My legs pedalled, not for the sake of reaching a target distance on the pedometer, a target pace or even a target calorie burn, but because when I pedalled harder, the wind whipped more strongly at my face and refreshed me and because I wanted to travel further, to see more of what was out there. And my, what is out there indeed. The more I see of Edinburgh the more it becomes one of my favourite cities in the world.

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