A response to a question I was asked about my cycling.
We all know certain things about riding your cycle. It can be very hard work ( Going uphill) or a doddle (speeding downhill). The more you weigh, the more difficult it is to pedal around, but the more you weigh the faster you can come downhill. Everyone knows from trying other friend’s cycles that all bikes were not created equal. We all have that one friend who leaves their cycle outside in all weathers with no protection or weatherproofing. Mountain bikes are not the same as road bikes and in the middle there are the so called hybrids, that are supposed to be a sort of all-rounder.
All these thoughts have been kicking around in my head bouncing back and forth between the walls of the skull, and generally making me more and more frustrated.
Then the rules of a step counting challenge I enjoy every year changed. Previously step counting was very easy. You looked at your counter, that you had worn during the day, and entered the steps and the total went up by that amount. People who ran, entered more steps, and the cyclist were not too pleased. Rule change, for every unit of distance a cyclist rode , they were allowed to add a certain number of steps to the total for the day. Now the keep fit , weight lifting rabbits screamed “unfair, what about all the effort we put in”. As a consequence, there was another rule change, users who spent time in the gym and at keep fit classes had a concessionary number of steps that could be added depending on how much time was spent pushing their bodies around. But this change split cycling into six groups. First, is the cycling indoors or outdoors, and then a further split as to whether it was leisurely, moderate or competitive.
OK. Stick with me here, I am going to channel Dr. Sheldon Cooper and there may be Mathematics involved. I hear a lot of chairs scraping, it’s not that bad, I promise, don’t leave.
So six types of cycling. Indoor, outdoor, easy decision, is it raining, then indoor.
Now think hard, do you remember from school…………..
Work done =force x distance moved
That rules out the static indoor cyclists, ‘cos they don’t travel anywhere. They stay in the same place. Yes mathematically trivial, but I try.
Now outdoor cycling. If you travel a circular route, then you haven’t gone anywhere, so again trivial. No work done. Therefore rule 1….. go somewhere. Stop have a rest , enjoy some calories. Then travel a separate route to your front door. Easy, two rides.. Sorry static cyclists.
Now let us do some thought experiments. Yes, Einstein was good at these. Imagine, if you will, two cyclists. One couch potato type at the beginning of the 100 day challenge. Not done a particle of training. The other, super fit, no measurable fat, all wiry muscle, been training hard since the last challenge. Further thinking, put the super fit on the road bike and the couch potato on the MTB. Start them together on a straight, traffic less, smooth, flat, nice, windless, temperate………. in short a wonderful magical cycling road. Who wins the race? First to cross the finish line should be the super fit road race person. Last by a while, enough time passes for a coffee and a doughnut, is our favourite couch potato. But, perhaps this person expended more energy cycling the course
I put it to you. I believe both these cyclists were competitive and deserve the equivalent competitive steps. Our couch potato, because they took longer would be given more steps to add to their total. Is this in the spirit of our challenge. I believe it is. Our couch potato has fulfilled the major tenet of the challenge. They got off their back side, and participated. A winner if ever I imagined one.
In truth, all I wish to say in this short trivial frivolity, is that there are variables, no constants.
Variables depending on such things, as road conditions, state of the surface, gradient, type of cycle, state of cycle, type and state of rider (Drunk or sober).
I am certain that this list could rapidly become exhausting, but never exhaustive. So Dr. Sheldon Cooper, we will not be needing your inexhaustible talents, apologies. A Mathematical formula would rapidly become too complicated and generally unwieldy for me to use.
Thus I will state my intentions clearly and without ambiguity. I, like most cycle lovers, will continue to bomb around all over the place, but slowing at times to enjoy the finer hedonistic moments, bird song, sun playing on a field et al. Thus I will consider myself to be an outdoor moderate cyclist. On the static cycle I will forever be a competitive cyclist. Doing my stint at the front and making my fat cry. At the end stumbling off the cycle, not able to stand, and shouting, not “Eureka”, but “wow that was great”.
In conclusion. If Feisty (fictional character of the wiry type), and I ever meet on a flat road, and race. I will consider myself the victor, and buy him a beer.
Stay safe and follow the Fluffle.