I'm recovering from cancer so I need to be careful about what I do getting back to fitness. There's been some issues during my recovery that's made running hard. So, I got on my bicycle.
I'm a runner. By that I mean when it comes to fitness, my default position is running.
Running is hard on the body. That means there will be times when we get injured. Or need a rest.
Then the question becomes: how do we not lose too much fitness?
There's loads of things you can do, of course there are.
I chose riding a bicycle. Here's how you get going.
Yep, you're going to need a bike. A mountain bike is the best choice. They tend to be cheaper than road bikes. And tougher.
You get the choice about riding on the road or the trails.
if you've not cycled much before, the sit-up-and-beg position will feel more stable.
You are not attempting to be a champion cyclist. You are using a bike to help you get back to fitness. Spare yourself the expense of a super-duper Le Tour special.
I decent mountain bike will cost around £450+
You don't need much fancy gear. Cleated cycling shoes, proper cycling shorts and that's it.
I use toe clips to maximise my pedalling efficiency. Hence the cleated cycling shoes. You don't have to, though.
You will need proper cycling shorts. The pain you will inflict upon your sit bones (your arse bones) will be immense.
Helmets. I often don't wear one because I hate the things. There is no current UK law that says you should wear one.
There is an advisory note in the Highway Code. And you will see all the serious cyclists wearing them.
It's up to you. But if you do buy one, make sure it conforms to safety standards and it fits you right. Otherwise, there is no point wearing it.
Go out and ride. Do what you can. If it's cross training, you can push as hard as you like.
If you are recovering from injury, push as hard as your injury will allow.
Pick routes that get you on quiet roads. Not only is it safer, you'll also enjoy it more when you don't have traffic whizzing by you all the time.
Pick routes with hills (if your body allows) so you can get a workout done. And the 21 gears or so a mountain bike comes with will be plenty to help you get up a big hill.
The affect on your running
Cycling uses your muscles in different ways. That will help make you a stronger runner.
If you are recovering from injury or illness, getting miles in on the bike is better than doing nothing.
So, cycling is fine for runners. It won't break your running ability - it might even add to it.
The key thing is: cycling has far less impact on your body than running. That's what makes it such a good recovery tool.
Don't be an arsehole
I see far too many cyclists flaunting the rules of the road and being a pain in the arse for motorists.
The roads are a shared space. Drivers have rules to follow about cyclists. In my experience, most drivers follow them - if the cyclists follow the rules.
But signal your intentions, hold a steady position (don't weave about) and follow the rules of the road.
Oh and don't cycle on the fucking pavements and footpaths. As a runner you'll hate it when cyclists do that. So don't you do it.
Observe those few things and you'll be cycling many enjoyable miles.