Catboy on the ups and downs of taking up cycling… in summer
Our man on the radio is strapping on the Lycra and ditching the diet of onion rings. But it’s no plain sailing…
You know when the perfect time to start cycling in the UAE is? Not in winter, when the temperature is perfect. Nope. Do it in the summer, when it’s 50 degrees and you can fry an egg on your Lycra-clad legs.
That’s exactly what I did. For the last six months I’ve walked past my bike and ignored it. Instead I chose to work on my summer beach-body by getting Ubers from the sofa to the fridge and using my NutriBullet to make my copyrighted health drink: “coke float and onion rings”.
And it’s paid dividends. I’m almost a perfect sphere. My wife and kids aren’t going to get tans this year because wherever they sit, they’ll be in my shadow. When I walked past the bedroom mirror I jumped out of my skin. I thought there was a Doctor Who ‘baddie’ in the room.
That was it. In my head I was asking myself what the younger, athletic me would make of this love-handled frump before him. I had hit rock bottom. It was time to change. As it’s 2016, the first thing multiple diet dodgers like me have to do is make a bold statement on social media. So I was straight on Twitter and Facebook proclaiming that: “I HAVE HAD ENOUGH.” I followed this by making promises about the Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge and build-up rides. I had committed myself in public. There was no turning back.
A week-and-a-half later I got round to cleaning my bike, inflating the tyres and fastening it on the back of my Jeep, then Instagrammed a photo saying: “I AM READY!”
Two weeks later I took my bike back off the Jeep, washed off the sand, applied more lube and put it back on the Jeep… again. I shouldn’t have troubled Instagram just in case some eagle-eyed follower picked up on the similarity between that photo and the one a fortnight ago. Sadly, the organisers of many of the UAE’s biggest cycling events noticed it. Apparently I shouldn’t have used so many hashtags. They publicly shamed me. Not that they needed to. I do a pretty good job of that on my own. However, it was the jolt I needed. It’s time to do this for real.
A photo posted by Catboy (@catboy92) on
A week later I told my wife I was thinking about going cycling. After the inevitable eye-roll, I insisted I was serious. She tried to dissuade me, mainly because she was concerned that I’d die halfway around the Al Qudra cycling track and a gang of oryx would feast on my body. When my own wife, the woman who pretends I look OK on nights out and promises me I’m not receding, tells me I wouldn’t be able to cycle, I knew it was time to get peddling.
I finally made it to Al Qudra. I went at 5am. I want to tell you it’s because it’s cooler then but it’s not. I just didn’t want active folk seeing my podgy rear swallowing-up the saddle.
I did the 50km loop and I’m really proud of myself. My legs were so weak I collapsed back at the car park. However, I still did it. All it took was a little bit of motivation. And the disappointment of everyone in my address book. And 44 years of overeating.
Here’s to my next ride (currently pencilled-in to coincide with Expo 2020).