Let’s cut to the chase – bikes are impractical in many ways.
From their size and difficulty in transporting to all the different specialized kit items (helmets, shoes, some form of mapping device) plus the ubiquitous possibility of a mechanical – requiring even more accessories and equipment. tools, not to mention the ability to get stuck away from home.
As a tool for honing your fitness, a bike brings with it a whole other set of complications to consider. The most important thing is to try and find a suitable route that doesn’t take you down roads unpleasantly busy with cars or on a shared cycle path with their own form of traffic. Then there’s time to consider – a quality outdoor workout can take a lot of time.
With all that in mind, after a day of roaming the many aisles of Eurobike and with another early start the next morning, it was a riverside race we piled into before dinner – rather just a stroll.
It might sound like sacrilege, but the combination of simplicity and intensity means adapting to a race is so much easier than riding a bike. Especially when traveling, the space occupied by a pair of shoes and a set of equipment is not much at all; easily fits into airline carry-on luggage.
In Stefan’s case, he didn’t even need – or have – any specific racing kit. With just a pair of suede shoes and a change of casual (non-technical) clothes, while far from ideal, it still didn’t prove an obstacle to going out for a loop.
Now, we’re in no way trying to suggest that running might be better overall than cycling. It’s not that our affinity for life on two wheels is diluted in any way. True love is not guided by practicality, and practicality is rarely the basis of true love.
But also, the fact that after an early morning flight, a busy day at Eurobike, and with only a short window that evening before an even busier tomorrow – it was only an achievable race, says long on what is worth listening to.
Because, after building up enough conditioning to race, we were able to engage in a reasonably productive session that we otherwise wouldn’t have if we weren’t supplementing our cycling with something different off the bike. It was an easy and direct way to adapt to some cardiovascular work.
Essentially, the upshot of all of this is that if you really care about your cycling, you could well gain a lot by broadening your skill base, embracing running, and harnessing the practical benefits it has to offer.
Of course, this isn’t a new or novel idea – but it’s perhaps a little ironic that the busy business trip of some cycling journalists to an all-cycling event underscores this point so clearly.