I do love riding up a steep hill; in fact, the steeper the better. There was a time, not too many years-ago, where I would have done all that I could to avoid riding up a hill. Not today though; today I actively seek out hills to ride up. In the city that is. I am not one of those crazy types who ride up and down mountains at great speed using a mountain bike for its proper use (although it does look like fun, I am just too much of a coward). No, I seek out urban hills to climb.
The reason for this is simple; I am trying to get fit. I have said before how much I despise running and I do cycle long distances, but I am not the healthiest person in the world when it comes to food and drink (oh and smoking). So I’ve always got that little bit of extra padding around my middle which I tell myself every day I will lose. Of course it’s all about staying healthy and absolutely nothing to do with vanity; really. Well, the smoking is being handled, the beer has been given its marching orders and I am forcing myself to not eat crap all the time; hence the hill searching. I figured that if I cycled up a few hills on the side then the fitness would come a rolling in. There are (funnily enough) quite a few hills in Forest Hill and they are humdingers to say the least.
An article in Men’s Health magazine puts the argument for cycling versus running in a very succinct way. Cycling is a low impact sport and running can bugger up your knees. This is not exactly what it says but it is the gist of it. As cycling is a low impact sport it is possible to go longer and further than when running. Unfortunately for me and my spare tyre it says that because cycling is done sitting down you don’t burn off as many calories as when you are running. Ten minutes of cycling will help to shift 97 calories whereas 14.2 minutes of running will see you shift a hefty 200 calories. It takes 27 minutes of cycling to shift that amount.
Of course vanity is one thing but all of this cycling and fitness seeking could be used for more charitable purposes. The British Heart Foundations London to Brighton bike ride is a possibility and for a very good cause. The event takes place on Sunday 16 June 2013, is a 54 mile ride, and you can register here to take part. If that seems like a lot to take on in one ride then you could go for ‘Around the West in 80 Miles’. This is a bike ride for the charity Temwa which is based in Bristol and raises funds to implement community-based projects in Malawi. The ride is broken up into two days of cycling and is at a leisurely pace. The point is that you can keep fit and do your bit for a good cause at the same time should you so wish. There are more charity bike rides out there to suit the beginner or the hard-core Lycra cyclist should you want to take part in one.
I’m going to keep on keeping my heart beating and looking for those hills to ride up for a while. My spare tyre has a limited life span even if it doesn’t know it yet.