Cycling

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Cycling

Postby Peter.H. » Mon Jul 07, 2014 4:56 pm

I love cycling. I took it up about ten years ago to lose weight and to help me give up cigarettes.
My right hip was arthritic, had wheezy lungs, and my weight made running almost impossible. Even walking around the block put my hip into pain for 1.5 days.
I was desperate to change my condition. An AA member suggested cycling - one of the few sports that allow you to sit down to do it.
My first ride was 5 kilometers. I sweated like a pig and my hip still hurt just as much, but at least it went farther than just around the block. And it was fun too.

To cut the long story. I lost 32 kg, became a competitive cyclists, and entered into the Masters World Championships (Austria) a few years ago - but crashed badly.
Over those ten years I have made many new friends who cycle. Some of us are AA members.
Many times we (AA members) go for a 40-80 km ride, each taking turns riding next to a member and having an AA meeting of sorts.
Most weeks we ride 25-30 km to a meeting, then ride back again. Sometimes we ride alone to a meeting.
It is not always good weather. We go by car if it is wet, but sometimes the weather changes while we are going or coming back from a meeting. It is then our serenity gets tested. Most times we laugh about it from the start, other times it takes a few minutes to let go. :lol:
"...unless this person can experience an entire psyche change there is very little hope of his recovery" - Dr. Silkworth. [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Ed, p xxix.]
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Re: Cycling

Postby Squawking Hawk » Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:53 pm

I used to do a lot of cycling, as a mode of transportation eons ago. Used to ride drunk in NYC. Talk about crazy. And I even lived to tell about it.

Anyway, Peter, thanks for sharing about cycling sober. Sounds awesome to have a mini-meeting while you are riding with your buddies. Keep sharing about your cycling, ok.

I have a bicycle in my garage. Have to get it out. Feel done on my rear end by slipping on the ice about 1.5 years ago. Then I decided to go cycling about two days later. Boy was I sore, I think I did more damage by getting on the bicycle too soon. Probably broke my tail bone. Anyway, it is still sore from time to time. But a lot better.

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Re: Cycling

Postby Peter.H. » Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:11 pm

Yes, cycling can be a dangerous sport, especially when your speeds are high, riding in a pack like a tin of sardines, and old age (longer recovery).
Half of the riders I know have had broken bones from crashing, some die.
After recovery, some get back on the bike, and others don't. The ones that do, do so because they feel that the joy, freedom, self-efficiency, pushing beyond personal limits, are experiences worth pursuing regardless of broken bones or even death.
I know what I just said may sound scary for some, but there are ways to minimize the risks.
Many people fear riding in a bunch. I understand that. I too don't like it, especially with unskilled riders. I avoid this by riding with the leaders.
Actually, I like riding with competitive riders. They are generally more skilled and predictable, yet often rider a lot closer than the unskilled ones.

After a cruising ride through the countryside we all love going to a cafe to chat and laugh about life.
Every year we go on a few long ride with have a BBQ afterwards. We also have 2-3 day tours covering about 100 km per day - they are a lot of fun.
Every year we do a 100 Miler (160 km) with two 1/2 hour stops, and a huge family BBQ at the end. The ride generally takes about 7-8 hrs.
But mostly, we have a few groups of riders we can ride with. Mostly depends on fitness, and to some degree the age of the rider. I am now 60.
There are three basic types who ride road bikes: the young and swift, middle-aged and quick, and the old and cruising.
I like the quick and cruising groups.

I hope you can get back on the bike soon. When you do, like many of us, we often think "why didn't I do this sooner?"
"...unless this person can experience an entire psyche change there is very little hope of his recovery" - Dr. Silkworth. [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Ed, p xxix.]
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Re: Cycling

Postby ann2 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:01 am

HI Peter! Thanks for the share. I used to ride a lot when I lived in Boston. Took it up after losing my driver's license and finding myself somewhat off the convenient bus routes. Knew I needed the exercise of course, and I really enjoyed the self-sufficiency and the feeling of controlled power. I did one of those single weekend bike trips in Vermont one year.

I was always careful to obey traffic laws but got doored one day and still have the effects from that encounter. I was ambulanced to the hospital x-rayed and eventually rode my bike home, lol. I had a friend once who was riding to his chiropractor, had an accident, and got back on his bike to get to the chiro because he knew he needed it!

I was even riding 7 months pregnant but after having kids gave it up because they don't keep up with me. But it's on the to-do list for later.

Inspiring to hear how you lost weight and joined a crowd of bikers!

Ann
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Re: Cycling

Postby Peter.H. » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:41 am

Thanks Ann for sharing your story.
In my early days of cycling I had two near misses. Once with the opening of a car door, the other with a truck door.
The strange thing about all possible incidences, most happen to riders in the first few years of riding, then they become less (for most of us).
I think increased skills and knowing what to look for helps us to avoid such mishaps.
Much like avoiding glass, at first we look at the glass and try to avoid it, but kept getting punctures.
Later we learn that we tend to go where we look, so we now only look at the gaps between the glass, and lo and behold, we get no less punctures.
It never ceases to amaze me how much there is to learn about cycling. After ten years, I am still learning.
"...unless this person can experience an entire psyche change there is very little hope of his recovery" - Dr. Silkworth. [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Ed, p xxix.]
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Re: Cycling

Postby CGPoolman » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:06 am

Thanks Peter,

I recently started cycling myself and I agree - it is great exercise! I became a runner when I came into AA but recently dialed back the running and decided to mix in a few bicycle days due to some foot & ankle issues I am having. Fortunately I live in the middle of nowhere so traffic isn't too much of a concern. Some mornings I see more deer and bears than I see vehicles. I really enjoy getting out there early and watching the sun come up while I ride. I don't live too far from Daytona Beach so once in a while I head over there at night and ride a few miles right on the beach while the sun goes down. Right now I ride anywhere between 15-20 miles per session. If I decide to stick with regular rides I will need to upgrade my bicycle to something suited a bit more to riding distance. My 100 dollar WalMart special is holding up OK so far, but I have a feeling once I get some more miles on it it will start to fall apart! I've had my eye on a nice one at the local bike shop in town but it will be a while before I have the $$ for it.

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Re: Cycling

Postby Peter.H. » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:02 am

Hello CG.
I know what you mean by getting a good bike for distances, and the $$ to buy one - they are not cheap.
Reading your share about riding and watching the sun rise reminded me of a bad incident. In short, a car driver was blinded by the sun and hit a cyclist.
I avoid riding directly towards sun rises and sunsets. So please be careful.

My first bike was a hybrid, a cross between a mountain and road bike. It cost me about $200.
A few years later I got an old third hand road bike frame for free, it was destined for the scrap yard, there was nothing wrong with it, just a lot of outside wear.
My friends heard that I was building a road bike, and I was poor at the time. Several guys dropped off all sorts of stuff they no longer used.
I got wheels, handle bar, brakes, pedals, gears and sprockets, gear levers and derailleurs. All I needed to buy was the bracket bearing, cranks and chain. Total price $260.
After repainting the frame and cleaning up the rest of it, it almost looked new.
Since then I bought two new bikes. One broke into pieces after a crash; carbon frames tend to break - not bend (as such).
My current bike cost several thousand dollars. More expensive than my second hand car. To me, it is worth it.
When one starts riding several hundred kms per week, a cheap bike becomes a pain in the butt - literally.

Great to read your share CG, hope to hear some of your riding stories.
"...unless this person can experience an entire psyche change there is very little hope of his recovery" - Dr. Silkworth. [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Ed, p xxix.]
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Re: Cycling

Postby Tosh » Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:04 am

I once called at a friends house - they'd recently had a new baby (their first child) - and I said "Congratulations" and he excitedly ushered me in saying "Come and have a look" and he exuberantly showed me into his kitchen and there I was presented with his new bike!!!

It was carbon fibre and very very light.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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Re: Cycling

Postby Peter.H. » Thu Jul 10, 2014 1:59 am

Hello Tosh.

Yes they are very light. If you only picked up the carbon fibre frame (nothing else on it, not gears, cranks, etc), it weights about 1 kg.
That lightweight frame frightens most people. We generally equate to such a large object, with little weight, as being frail and fragile.
"...unless this person can experience an entire psyche change there is very little hope of his recovery" - Dr. Silkworth. [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Ed, p xxix.]
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Re: Cycling

Postby Peter.H. » Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:36 pm

Image

In 2010, I trained for a month at St Johann in Tirol, Austria, for an upcoming cycling event. During that time I attended a weekly AA meeting, every Thursday night 7 pm.
The meeting was typical of most AA meetings found in a small township; mostly mature aged adults, all sitting around in a circle.
This AA group comprised an equal share of male and female members, about 10 in all. The room was small, but we all could easily sit around a huge table.
I was most welcomed. Straight away, the member who could speak English, fairly well, became my 'greeter'.

They all spoke Austrian, except for me. Most could speak a few English words. But all could understand German, a language I once knew.
The Austrian language is close to German, and so I understood about half of what they were sharing.
One man was a sheep farmer from the mountains. He spoke Austrian with such a strong dialect I could hardly understand him. But his shares always had lots of expressions and laughter, which oddly enough, spoke to me more so than most others.
My share was mostly broken German with a dabble of English. They all got the gist of what I was saying.

Once a month they had a topic meeting. Each person got to share a particular topic.
A basket, filled with topic titles, was sent around for each member to randomly pick from.
These titles were painted on thin fillets of wood, cut from a branch. They were cute really.
After my first meeting, they asked where I was staying (about 20 km away). They organised someone to pick me up and take me home for each meeting.
They were all so friendly and supportive. A loving experience I will never forget.
I am very grateful that AA was available for me while I was there.
(By the way, I did check the AA directory before travelling to Austria).
Last edited by Peter.H. on Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"...unless this person can experience an entire psyche change there is very little hope of his recovery" - Dr. Silkworth. [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Ed, p xxix.]
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Re: Cycling

Postby Tosh » Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:25 am

I've skied with the British army at St Johann; it's beautiful there. It's a small world. I enjoyed your share too. I guess you've been watching the Tour de France? Mrs Tosh is glued to it; I suspect it's those big thighs and Lycra (that's spandex for the 'Mericans) that's the attraction. Can I ask where it is you come from?
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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Re: Cycling

Postby Peter.H. » Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:44 am

Tosh wrote:I've skied with the British army at St Johann; it's beautiful there. It's a small world. I enjoyed your share too. I guess you've been watching the Tour de France? Mrs Tosh is glued to it; I suspect it's those big thighs and Lycra (that's spandex for the 'Mericans) that's the attraction. Can I ask where it is you come from?

Hello Tosh.
Very funny about the thighs and Lycra :lol:

I am from Australia.

How come you were at skiing with army at St johann?
"...unless this person can experience an entire psyche change there is very little hope of his recovery" - Dr. Silkworth. [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Ed, p xxix.]
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Re: Cycling

Postby Tosh » Sun Jul 13, 2014 3:21 am

Peter.H. wrote:How come you were at skiing with army at St johann?


I was based in North Germany and Austria - as you know - is only a stone's throw away. It was a heavy drinking exercise though; lots of 'maps of Africa' on the beds in the morning and not many of us wanted to go skiing because our hangovers were so severe. It was called a 'Holicise' an hybrid of 'holiday' and 'exercise'. We'd do a few days langlaufen (Nordic skiing - you need lungs like space-hoppers to be any good at this) and spend the next ten days or so on downhill skiing.

I can see why you trained there though; lots of hills; and it's lovely.

I run and I've been tempted by get a road-bike for cross-training, but the roads around here put me off; I'd get squished by a car. Even running I prefer off-road stuff away from traffic and civilisation. Last year we did quite a few fell races (mountain running) and even ran a tough off-road coastal marathon. It's one 'addiction' I can't get though. Mrs Tosh runs six-days-a-week and cross-trains on her 'rest day'. Me? I go through lazy periods where I can't get myself out of the door. Well, I say 'lazy', if I'm to be honest if I'm not spiritually fit - I don't want to spend time running with just me and my head.

And on that note, I'm off out for a run! :mrgreen:
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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Re: Cycling

Postby Peter.H. » Sun Jul 13, 2014 5:01 am

Thanks Tosh for your sharing.

I do not run because I have a hip and a knee that does not like impact sports like running. I used to love running when I was younger. Longest distance was only 16 km.
I do not know how to ski. I tried it a few times, when I was younger, but soon lost interest.

I was in the RAAF for six years, as an instruments, and electronics technician.
My first rehab was while I was in the RAAF. They had a special medical unit called Alcohol Rehabilitation and Education Program (AREP).
I was their first adult trainee inducted into the program. I stayed a dry drunk for two years (no AA, my worst time ever) out of fear of dishonorable discharge if I relapsed.
I did relapse, but kept it a secret, and after a few months went to AA instead of AREP to avoid that discharge.

Back to cycling: I trained for a month at St Johann, before the Masters World Championships. It is a yearly event held at St Johann.
It was a 38 km circuit that required us to do two laps. I trained on the circuit nearly everyday. Also rode around the country side.
I first rode the circuit at race pace to find where my weaknesses were. Then trained on the circuit to minimize those weaknesses.
While I was there, I was doing about 600 kms per week, except for the last week.

At home, I live in a rural coastal area. There are plenty of roads that are reasonably quiet.
I avoid the highway as much as I can. It is too dangerous! Some vehicles drive so close, they almost tough the elbow.

The only time I get lazy to ride, is when I am too tired, or about to become sick. In those situations my resting heart rate (RHR) goes from sub 50 to 60+ bpm.
Whenever my RHR is 60+, I have a rest day, or until my RHR goes down to 50- bpm. By checking my RHR every morning and following these guidelines, I avoid sickness and fatigue.

After riding for about ten years, I have learnt to put myself into 'the zone' most of the time. This is where I become fully aware of my body, the bike, the road and all surrounding environment. I am riding without doubt. And even experience pre-cognition. While in the zone, it is like meditation, fully focused on the now and what is to come. It is riding at full efficiency yet serene.
Other riders tend to whine about the headwinds, the hills, the temperature, or the rain. In the zone, all is fully acknowledged, accepted, and appropriate actions are taken to compensate for them.

As you can see, I truly love the sport.
"...unless this person can experience an entire psyche change there is very little hope of his recovery" - Dr. Silkworth. [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Ed, p xxix.]
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Re: Cycling

Postby Tosh » Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:15 am

Peter.H. wrote:My first rehab was while I was in the RAAF. They had a special medical unit called Alcohol Rehabilitation and Education Program (AREP).


We had something similar in the army, which the lads euphemistically called 'the basket weaving course', which I think is a WW1 expression for how they treated PTSD sufferers.

Peter.H. wrote:After riding for about ten years, I have learnt to put myself into 'the zone' most of the time. This is where I become fully aware of my body, the bike, the road and all surrounding environment. I am riding without doubt. And even experience pre-cognition. While in the zone, it is like meditation, fully focused on the now and what is to come. It is riding at full efficiency yet serene.
Other riders tend to whine about the headwinds, the hills, the temperature, or the rain. In the zone, all is fully acknowledged, accepted, and appropriate actions are taken to compensate for them.


Interesting and it sounds like a case of 'practising these principles in all of our affairs'. It sounds like 'the zone' is a kind of mindfulness meditation. I also think there's lots of similarities - analogies even - one can make about our spiritual path and endurance sports. Firstly they're both really difficult when we first start. Just trying to stay sober or start exercising from scratch isn't easy. And early on in either we can make great gains very fast, but later we hit the law of diminishing returns and it gets harder in a different kind of long-term way.

And we can get obsessed with targets and forget about why we originally started living a spiritual life/exercising. For example I've been through periods with running where I'm focussed on getting faster - and it sucks the enjoyment out of the sheer joy of running for the sake of running - just like in sobriety we can go through periods of not living the spiritual life, but focussing on making money, or sex, or [insert distraction here]. I rarely train with a gps watch for this reason.

I do try to be mindful (get in the zone) when I'm running, but when I'm tired, everything's hurting, my self centredness does the 'poor me' thing. Or sometimes my thoughts just seem more attractive than being mindful, like I've got to distract myself - so my thoughts will have to do in the absence of anything better. A guy I sponsor calls this 'distracting ourselves' thing as 'avoiding God'.

I really like the resting heart rate thing. I understand the principle behind it and I've got a sports heart rate monitor too. I'll give it a shot in the morning.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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