Cycling–not as healthy as you might have thought.

Riding a bicycle – do the risks outweigh the rewards?

Until recently, cycling was considered to have certain health benefits. Images of people, crouched over their handlebars, jaws thrust forward in a determined manner and legs pumping away at the pedals gave the impression that it’s all a jolly good day’s fun in the sun.

However, we at the Institute warn that one faces serious health risks when taking up the sport. Admittedly, it increases lung capacity, improves blood circulation, has a marginally positive effect on one’s general fitness and all that stuff, but the downsides are arguably a whole lot worse.

With the Port Elizabeth Ironman competition taking place in a few hours, I thought this topic would help normal people avoid being swept up in the hype surrounding this dangerous pastime by listing a few of the pitfalls to which you might fall victim.

Among other disturbing consequences, our scientists have conclusively proven that cycling:

  • Distorts perceptual abilities and spatial awareness.This causes the sufferer to think he and his bicycle require the same amount of space on the road as say, an articulated 18 wheeler or a South African politician in his new BMW X6 SUV.

    Drive within the yellow line??? Nooooo – let’s ride in the path of trucks and taxis – much safer.

  • Can give one a fatal sense of invincibility. Thought to be as a result of oxygen deprivation, the rider acts in utter disregard to that law which prohibits cyclists from riding abreast on narrow roads, and when the drivers in the tailback hoot out of frustration, the cyclist arrogantly makes rude hand gestures as if his Sunday afternoon ride has been spoiled by a thoughtless driver.

    DSCN1961 ed

    A ‘small ball’ of law-breakers gleefully and puerilely ignoring the infuriated drivers behind.

  • Negatively affects ones sense of fiscal prudence. Ignoring for a moment professional cyclists and sponsored teams; who in their right mind spends over R60 000 on a device that not only causes endless pain and suffering, but makes you look like a complete pillock into the bargain?
  • Plays havoc with the neural pathways between the optic nerve and that part of the brain which deals with dress-sense. The jury is out on this point, because similar sufferers can be found on golf courses and red carpets scattered about the entertainment industry. However, when it comes to cycling, it is the opinion of this writer that the inventor of Spandex has a lot to answer for.
DSCN1964 ed

The guilty parties. We won’t discuss this poor fellow’s overbite because that would lower the tone of the article – except to say that such an orthodontic anomaly would be most useful when attaching to a tow-bar for steep uphills.

You know you’ve encountered a coven of cyclists if, by surreptitiously lifting the hem of their skirts or dresses, you find a shaved leg or two. Be careful, however, because your action may not be received with tolerance – even less so from the lady cyclists.

Cyclists apparently also hang around in peletons– literally translated from the French, meaning “small balls”; so it appears the French don’t like them either.

On a Sunday morning, at least one eatery in any suburban shopping complex will be inundated with cyclists. Many, many bicycles will be leaning up against walls, annoyingly disrupting walkways; but considerably increasing the value of the property. Men and women congregate in cliques to quaff fashionable energy drinks, eat brunch and/or talk about tyres, chains and frames. Fashion-wise (although that’s a bit of an oxymoron right there), everyone looks like they’ve just completed the Tour de France – even if they’ve just ridden from the adjacent housing complex. Almost everyone will be in their alien-shaped helmets, fingerless gloves, the ubiquitous sunglasses and brightly coloured spandex, on which they’ve spent colossal amounts of hard earned cash for the privilege of advertising for the companies associated with the sport and who saw them coming in the first place.

The cycling pants. Now there’s a subject for several theses (psychological, sporting, fashion – you name it). One look at the knife-edge that passes for a bicycle saddle these days, and you will be forgiven for thinking that cyclists have issues other than fitness. Yours truly is the first to admit that he’s not a devotee of pain-inflicting pastimes, but I once spent about 10 minutes (and half a kilometre) riding one of these contraptions. I dismounted, cross-eyed and yodelling with agony and had to walk like John Wayne for an hour or two while those sensitive gentleman’s parts moved south again from the throat region towards their original location.

Instead of changing the saddle design (the logical solution, one would have thought) to alleviate the pain, the cyclist chooses a pair of pants that contains a large (and probably uncomfortable) strip of sponge. This still causes cyclists to walk like John Wayne and, I’m sure, disappoints many ladies on subsequent dates with their cycling boyfriends.

So, if you’re invited by so-called friends to join their cycling ring, or assailed by the desire to buy a bicycle – just say no. Your outfits will be less garish and you’ll be far safer.

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About Freud Fission Chips

Despite the banality of the name, FFC has led an intensely varied life. Grateful for surviving almost three years as a 'troepie' (soldier for non-South African Readers) in the Angolan war, he determined to wring as much out of life as possible. Currently providing Business Analysis services, trading on the stock market and developing web pages to pay the bills, FFC also dabbles in wildlife, landscape and people photography, writing, and far too many interests for his own good. He has also travelled extensively in southern Africa (working on the sound theory that a moving target is more dificult to hit). These peregrinations also include over 1500kms on foot through some of the worlds most spectacular scenery. It hasn't all been plain sailing, beer and skittles, and endless beds of roses... Chief amongst the prerequisites for surviving Africa, with its mind-bending characteristics, is an appropriate sense of humour.... So, for now, he will be recounting the amusing among the annoying, the frustrating wrapped in the funny and extracting the mirth from the melancholy... Oh yes, there might be some alliteration too.
This entry was posted in Humour - or humor, Satire. Bookmark the permalink.

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