Know Your Limits

For me, anything over about 40 miles is tiring. I can do it – I did it today – and I can do it non-stop and at a reasonable pace, but tomorrow I’ll know I went for a longer ride today whereas for shorter rides there are no such consequences.

What is frustrating is not knowing whether that tiredness is legitimate (if that’s the right word) or not. I’m an over-weight, over 50 ex-smoker. I ride regularly but I’ve never been sporty. I’ve always had sedentary jobs. What should I reasonably expect from myself?

I’ve said before about knowing yourself being a vital element in a happy life, and surely knowing your limits is part of knowing yourself. What I don’t know is whether limits are best set on a personal basis or whether there are any kind of benchmarks that should be kept in mind.

Shortly after I’d rolled out today, near Sonning, a delivery driver for a firm called Addison Lee made a point of making room for me. As always, I thanked him. It just made my day a little better. A while later, on Drift Road nearing Windsor Great Park, there was a vehicle parked on the side of the road and the driver asked me the way to Windsor. It was an Addison Lee minibus. Obviously, this was pure coincidence and I would have helped anyway, but there was something particularly pleasing about being able to offer directions to the latter chap, his colleague having helped me.

I have no idea who or what Addison Lee is or what they do. I could look it up but I quite like not knowing. My albeit limited experience suggests that their drivers seem like decent people.

Thanks are due, too, to the driver of a Chrysler estate near Burchett’s Green for making room for me. And in Wargrave a driver of a blue Ford noticed my attempt to make his day a little better by over-signalling my movements and waved his thanks. Yes, this is all small stuff – tiny little interactions – but in comparison to when I’m driving, they are more frequent and more human somehow, more personal. Cycling makes you realise how impersonal driving is, no matter how well you drive.

Talking of driving, the traffic around Ascot way today was heavy because of the races. What made me smile was how little variety there was amongst the ‘toff’s cars’ : it was all Mercs, the better BMWs, Range Rovers and the occasional Bentley or Roller. Of course they could buy lots of other cars but presumably they don’t feel they can and they wouldn’t be in the ‘right’ price bracket. Isn’t there something rather … stupid? … about the less well off ultimately having more choice of motor vehicle.