By Bryan Perkins, Cycling Battler
You wanna ride yah bike fast (go on – of course you do – once you get over your natural laziness, the freezing cold or the fact that you are actually an anti-lycra, carbon emitter who secretly wants to wipe cyclists of the road).
But we all know there’s a deep human instinct to ride a bicycle. Wasn’t it great? The first time riding without mummy or daddies help. Trainer wheels dispensed. Freedom!
Darwin I’m sure has riding a bike as a footnote for the ‘survival of the fittest’ and Obama has it as a key clause in Obamacare – his plan to make very fat Americans merely fat. Ride your bloody bike. Get off your fat lard laden ass and pedal. Breath, let the lungs do what they were trained to do, and sweat. It’s one of the most efficient forms of human transportation on the planet. And it’s great fun if you’re drunk, as long as you ride on the foot path. If you’re stoned riding feels like you’re flying a jet plane – so I don’t recommend it, unless you have a good stash of chippies, peanut slabs, cookie time biscuits, instant noodles, a gas cooker to cook them, and more peanut slabs.
And what does this have to do with the hardest sport around – professional cycling? Actually quite a lot. I believe they are riding sober. They may be high on other performance enhancing drugs, as Lance so eloquently elaborated with Oprah. But we must give them the benefit of the doubt as I secretly crave that the cycle racing is clean.
And that’s what brought me back to riding. Trying to clean myself up a bit, and put a halt to some well-developed love handles. So I came back to racing bikes 5 years ago, after racing in my late teens & early twenties. After as few years of hard riding, at 48 years of age, the grey in my hair was growing at the same rate as my power to weight ratio. I was riding pretty well. My wife, however, did have a rude ultimatum: ‘if you are ever lighter than me – then the divorce papers are in the mail?’ Was that a challenge or a hint? And am I destined to be a fat slob on the couch with a wife who is lighter than me (despite eating too much chocolate). And am I condemned to watching those lithe cycling mountain goats drop me at the mere sight of a hill?
But life is good and matrimonial bliss is only 3 chardonnay’s and 4.5 single malt whiskies away!
That’s why cycling truly is a sport of purity and beauty, reversing the middle age trend of a hefty beer gut in favour of shamelessly shaved legs and scrawny skinniness. And with the flag ship event of the pro riding season, Le Tour de France in full swing it amazing to see so many riders enduring the cold building up base miles for the upcoming summer NZ road racing season. After the first mountain stage Froome is looking like a winner; crushing his rivals with a blistering attack up the final 15 km climb. With such a great team around him: (especially Riche Porte & Geraint Thomas, it seems only something unusual will prevent his triumph in Paris. All Froome’s rivalsL Contador, Quintana, Van Garden are minutes back. Of course questions about how ‘clean’ Froome is haunt Le Tour.
Go Le Tour!