The other day I was out cycling with my husband, chattering away as usual and trying to decide what kind of cake we should make when we got home. I spend probably as much time thinking about food (and eating it) as I do cycling so we discussed the merits of various bakes, pondering out loud which would be our ultimate all-time favourite as well as which would suit this particular Sunday.
After much discussion I decided that no matter how much I love a classic Victoria Sponge filled with jam and cream or the amazingly fruity Hummingbird Cake made with tinned pineapple, when it came to my desert island bake it had to be Dave’s carrot cake. With the decision made, I said to him,
‘Just think how good that cake is going to taste after all this cycling!’
It got me thinking that with cycling, some of the greatest rewards actually come after you’ve stepped off your bike.
And I’m not talking about firmer thighs or a sense of accomplishment; what I mean is that the very act of cycling improves the things you do after. Put simply, cycling makes everything better.
Take food, for example... Cycling makes food more than just delicious because, as we all know, nothing ever tastes as good as it does after a pedal.
Along with the fact I’m normally ravenous after cycling, eating a good meal feels so much more satisfying than it would if I’d spent the day idle.
Refueling feels important and those portion sizes definitely feel justified.
Kit to make cycling better!
Then there’s massages... Ok, so I’m never, ever going to turn down a massage whether I’ve been for a ride or not (from my husband or a massage therapist, not just from anyone!) but a rub down after a bike ride feels ten times better at the very least!
When your legs and back are sore and a kindly friend gives you a squeeze and some TLC it feels like nothing else on earth. Deeply soothing, satisfying and medicinal, a cycling makes massages better.
Is a bike just a bike? Or is it a case of finding 'the one' to achieve maximum ride satisfaction? Read Juliet's other tale of cycling happiness in Can the Right Bike Change Your Life...
Then there’s Netflix and the sofa. Let me explain…
Lying around on the couch all evening with nothing but Netflix for entertainment is kinda… whatever. But precede it with a long ride outside, particularly on a chilly winter day and that time is magically transformed into something wonderful.
Rather than boring, a night on the sofa vegging out feels soothing and wonderfully indulgent, a perfect timed reward for your earlier efforts on the bike.
With heavy limbs and a feeling of satisfaction as those endorphins buzz around your body, Netflix never felt so good.
And how about commuting? Take something that’s potentially annoying, expensive and time consuming, add cycling and you have two daily time slots in which to enjoy being outside, feel good about yourself, improve your health and have fun. It’s a no brainer really.
And finally, I’d have to say that cycling makes relationships better. Take one grumpy pair, put them on bikes for a couple of hours and I guarantee they’ll come back more cheerful.
Sometimes every relationship needs a good bike ride – it’s definitely part of our ‘couples therapy!’