Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Wheely eye-opening

Naively, I thought that by cycling I was joining some fraternal group of bonhomie. This was, in part, fuelled by two incidents - the first when I was limping the Rustball (aka former bike) back and a cyclist stopped and asked if he could help. He was all for whipping out his bike medical kit there and then and performing emergency surgery - I had to explain that the bike was terminal (and thank him). Then last Thursday, on my first commute in, a Serious Cyclist (you know the type, lycra clad, hunnched down over the handlebars) gave me a cheery good morning as he whizzed past. But since then I have realised this is not true. Cyclists get huffy with me not going fast enough or being quick enough away from the lights or confident enough squeezing past bendy buses, juggernauts etc (EEK). One shouted abuse (swore) at me last night when I was overtaking a slower cyclist (!) on a cycle path and was in his lane as he steamed up from nowhere at a conservatively estimated 80mph.

Cycling is quite a lesson in humanity! Black cabs are horrendous - they must get some sort of prize if they make their journeys super-quick when they have are no passengers. Buses are pretty aggressive too (I guess this shouldn't be a surprise given that their favourite pastime seems to be slamming on the brakes suddenly to make all their passengers fall over). White van man is mostly true to type (although not always) revving past to gain an extra 50 yards to the next set of lights. But motorbikes are worst - they travel in the bike lanes (that's BICYCLES people) and get annoyed if you're in their way. Well excuse me, I'm peddling my ass off (hopefully) to get to where I'm going whilst you just sit on yours and YOU'RE IN MY LANE. Phew, got that over with. It's not a zen activity, that's for sure.

I had a particularly bad bike day yesterday (all bike days = bad hair days in Peridot-land, fyi) with a car hurtling through a crossing on a red light and almost taking me out, the cyclist shouting at me, a coach cutting me up on my scariest roundabout and leaving me stranded mid-traffic, a taxi pulling out from the kerb in front of me (he used his indicators after he'd done this!) and a pedestrian who turned when I rang my bell and looked at me, turned away and THEN walked into me as she wandered across the road. I only clipped her arm with my handlebar but it could have been nasty. I was very cautious cycling today and had a better trip - but I've really lost my nerve on the scary roundabout and ended up walking across it. I need to be someone who can dismiss such incidents quickly and move on (literally and figuratively) but if one thing happens it shakes me up and makes me more nervous.

I'm fighting the 'do more exercise, want to eat more' cruel trick our bodies play on us. I really want to keep it at under 1200 cals and Food Focus reckons my cycling burns 1244 cals cycling. Mind you, that's entering it as moderate cycling and the estimate of distance for that suggests otherwise. But actually I find it really hard work so feel moderate is the right option - I refuse to think I do 'Bicycling, light effort'. Yesterday, despite my best efforts I went over at 1400 cals and I was STARVING. I actually left for my cycle home feeling almost shaky with hunger. Made it though. Today I've entered everything in and I'm looking like just under 1100 calories. Strange. I may get a yoghurt to have just before my cycle home.

I had an active weekend in the end which kept me on course calorie-wise (if not 1200 cals on Saturday). Bf and I went for a 2 hour cycle ride on Saturday (beautiful sunshine and an alarmingly strong wind - was worrying about being blown into the canal we went alongside for a bit which always scares me) and we went for a three hour very hilly ramble with a friend on Sunday. She's very focussed on exercise - admirably so - and didn't puff at all going up the hills (a moment's respectful silence) whilst I sounded like Thomas the Tank Engine. But I was probably redder (and rounder) in the face than Thomas. It's a salutory lesson. Not the Thomas bit, the Fit Friend. She's lost alot of weight herself very succesfully and I had to really rein in wanting to talk diets and exercise for fear of boring bf into a coma (I certainly didn't have the energy to carry him back) but she's also Expert Friend (Mrs L has one of these too) so I always want to learn as much from her as I can. I thought I knew alot but jeez...

Claire is right when she comments that 940 cals would be a real struggle. And also right that I would slap her for mentioning Cambridge! Only kidding (I'd have to find you first!). I take her point though - it's managing as best you can in the best way you can. That's why I've decided to stick with the 1200 cals from Diet Chef and hope that by the time I've cycled most days it will all even out - given that I burn about that many just cycling, according to the spoddy maths/diet site Food Focus. I know I'll go over at the weekend but, rain permitting, I should have enough calories in the bank from the week to deal with it - I may even in advertently test that theory that says if you're strict most of the week, a few higher cal days stops your metabolism dropping! And my non-negotiables, as something Mrs L highlights, are a lovely meal with wine (and probably pudding) on a Saturday with bf (not going mad though, a healthy meal (and probably pudding)), a square of dark chocolate with raspberry bits each night (except Saturday) and a shapers/slimfast bar at lunchtime during the week. The latter two are well within my calorie count, not an extra.

Watch this space....

1 comment:

Lesley said...

Massive kudos on the cycling. My London pals tell me it does get easier so stick with it.

Actually, you sound quite a bit different over the last couple of weeks. Much calmer, less negative about yourself and less negative about exercising. Do you think it is the change from running to cycling and maybe the fact that you seem to have settled on a diet "plan", namely the 1200 cals per day. Have you noticed a difference yourself?

Hope so.

Lesley x