I mentioned the other day that I ride a bike primarily for pleasure, but also for fitness. The conditions around here are so grotty at the moment – floods; filthy roads; cold – that for the sake of health I’ve taken to riding an indoor ‘turbo trainer’.
It is stunningly dull.
It is not what I ride a bike for. I bought it a few years ago for just this purpose – those stray weeks when riding outside is just too fun-free. It could live behind glass with ‘break only in an emergency’ stencilled on it – it’s very much a last resort.
It’s only interesting as a mental test; an exercise in discipline. Firstly, there’s the discipline of making myself do it at all – that’s hard enough. More importantly, there’s the perhaps surprisingly difficult task of taking my mind away from the tedium and the discomfort and tiredness too: riding on a trainer is relentless and taxing.
Gaining a focus on something else is surprisingly elusive. In theory it should be easy: concentrating on something more pleasurable than an un-enjoyable immediate makes perfect sense. Nevertheless, thus far I’m finding it hard to think of anything other than how much I’m not enjoying myself.
I don’t know if I can train myself so that practice matches theory; if we’re starting a long drawn-out winter already I might have plenty of opportunities to find out. We shall see – if I can find a trick to it I’ll be joining the self-help book market …