Why I Cycle

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1. It's in my genes

I've always been sporty - period. OK, there's a bit more to it than that, but ever since I was 7 I've been competing in sport. It started with swimming. At age 6 I learnt to swim, at age 7 I was competing and did so for another 6 years.

Come secondary school, 11-13, I was in 6 out of 8 school sports teams, and won a few titles.

Cycling for me started at age 13, and between then and 16 I picked up a few more titles and came to the attention of the national RTTC coach.

2. The endorphins

In short, the feel good factor. Cycling is as hard/painful as you decide to make it, but in my experience the harder you try, the greater the endorphin rush.

But it's not just that. Cycling has always helped me reduce the effects of anxiety, stress and depression - it just has the ability to clear the head and provide a more positive mental attitude in a world that can sometimes have way too much negativity.

And it's addictive. The more I do, the more I want to get out there. I actually enjoy working my body and getting out of my comfort zone. Crazy, I know!

3. The social life

It's great to exercise, it's good for the mind and body, but to be able to engage in this activity whilst socialising with other cyclists is probably one of the greatest benefits. It makes the whole encounter a pleasure - even when it's hurting. You're part of something bigger, forming friendships some of which do become life-long.

4. The scenery

Hey, I know living in the Peak District has spoilt me when it comes to beautiful scenery, but even when I was cycling in Lincolnshire, getting out into the countryside away from traffic was such a buzz. Cliched as it sounds, getting closer to nature has a fundemental and profound effect on people's mood. It's just awesome!

5. Health and fitness

Our bodies weren't designed to live the life of a couch potato, although in my 30s and 40s with a lack of cycling in my life, and a lack of exercise in general, I came close to falling into that category. The weight went on to the extent that I became physically uncomfortable in my own body and gained nearly 2 stone, which when you're usually 9.5 stone is proportionally quite a lot.

Having got back into cycling the weight came down, fitness returned and with it a desire to eat more healthily and generally look after myself.

6. Because I can

Self-explanatory, really...

I hope what I've said has given you food for thought if you're looking for a form of exercise to improve your fitness and well-being, and if you're already a keen cyclist I hope I've conveyed at least some small part of the passion I feel for cycling - and who knows may be we'll meet out on the road.


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