Column: The Cycle of Life

When it comes to cycling, I’ve mobilised more people than Donald Trump and I don’t regret a thing. – By Calvin Fisher

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It was five years ago when I first donned my lycra super-hero suit. Perhaps you can relate? Remember your first time clicking and clacking your way to your desk in your cycling boots before the mandatory shower and tiresome day behind the screen of a PC? Sweaty and salty from the sea air between Hout Bay and the CBD, greasy with sunblock, stained with chain grease, a wild look in your stinging eyes. Onlookers, peers, colleagues, chortlers are ever-eager to tease and chide. There were two in particular, let’s call them Aaron and Ashley. Because those are their names. These chaps would colourfully and consistently berate me for my mountain biking, right up until they bought their own bikes and joined me. They would snarkily comment on my road riding as well until they themselves scaled the Cape’s beautiful asphalt alongside me.

The teasing has not subsided, in fact it now goes both ways, with a heavy helping of camaraderie only a cluster of cyclists will understand. And while they have graduated to racing snake status I have not, instead I’ve regressed. But that’s not how I choose to look at it. See, I’ve found my next project and new victim. My cousin John was rapidly approaching his 40th birthday, heavier than me if you can imagine, and had never turned over a pedal in anger in his life. So there we were, me bracing his seat and handle bar, him filling the space between my arms, the both of us spilling out from the curb to the road as I taught him to ride a bicycle. The pride was immense, rivaling the satisfaction I felt completing my first Cycle Tour that first year, an addictive euphoria I’ve since continued to seek and with success. So yes, I’ve slowed down since those first few years. I peaked early in my performance but the satisfaction of getting more friends and family onto two wheels has been a revelation.

See, when training a newbie you tend to slow down to their comfortable pace to help them along and boost their confidence – all the while never relenting your champion-like tendencies and appetite for Watts. In the first two years of cycling I managed to shed 36 kilograms. But not to worry, over the three years since I’ve managed to recover 20 of them. My 15-year-old son, Zeke, is my next project. And while he’s slower than treacle passing through a sloth’s rectum right now, I have no doubt he’ll be leaving his dad in the dust in the near future. And that’s okay. Because he has two much younger brother – so that’s my next ten years sorted.

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