Nineteen Thousand Near Stubbings

Cateye Computer showing 19,000 miles

The Cateye on my Nerone rolled over 19,000 as I rode by Stubbings

Today, just past Stubbings, the Cateye on my Nerone rolled over to show 19,000.

And that’s the only time in my life I’ll have the chance to write that.

(And if you’re feeling bewildered, Stubbings is a place near Maidenhead; a Cateye is a brand of cycle computer that logs total miles ridden, average speed on a trip and so on; and a Nerone is a type of Bianchi road bike. I’ve a first generation model and it’s the bike I consider my workhorse. Today it clocked up 19,000 miles.)

So, doing some major rounding off, let’s call that 1,266 hours if I was doing about 15 mph – which isn’t unreasonable. That’s 75,960 minutes. I tend to pedal a medium gear rather than push a big one, but let’s say I’m doing just 80 revolutions a minute. That’s 6,076,800 pedal revolutions, and that’s only on that bike. That’s just a silly number.

In terms of human evolution, obviously enough we weren’t designed to ride bikes because bikes are quite new in the big scheme of things. Legs ain’t made to go around and around. But it isn’t – on the whole, for most people – a painful form of exercise, your weight is quite well supported and there’s none of the jarring that can come with running, even if running is theoretically more natural.

I get tired from cycling and I can get aching muscles from it, but that’s about it. I don’t think I’ve ever had a cycling-induced injury as such, and that has to be a good advert for riding a bike. It’s not as if I’m some super-fit, lean, mean racer – I’m a fat bloke in his 50s. If riding’s suiting me it might well suit any number of other less-than-fit people.

The utterly daft thing, of course, is that we have to find ways to keep fit. Ever increasing numbers of us have lifestyles that we’re just not physically designed for, that we then have to shoe-horn ‘keeping fit’ in to already over-crowded schedules. It is, on just a moment’s reflection, farcical. At least cycling offers more than merely exercise; it’s as much a means to escape and reflect as it is a way of getting fitter or a way of moving around.