Devizes

The hail crackled against the glass in St James Southbroom this morning. A warm welcome inside but the prospect of a wet journey back.

I left home just after 7.00 to get there in time for the 9.00 service, allowing enough just in case there was a puncture to deal with. The better modern bike tyres are lined with Kevlar to stop punctures. The adverts show someone sticking a drawing pin into the tyre. Not something I’ve tried yet.

35 miles this morning on the heavily loaded Pashley Sovereign. Quite a name. My father used to drive a pre-war Studebaker Dictator – not a name that would go down well today.

Lots of people have assumed I’m doing this to lose weight. Not at all. When we cycled 1500 miles from Olympia to the Olympics in 2012, we were all scientifically tested. So I can calculate that this morning I may have cycled 35 miles, and climbed a total of 2000ft (modern bike computers are very sophisticated) but I probably only burnt about 1500kcals, which equates to about ½lb. I never quite buy this idea that fitness loses weight. That’s a lot of effort for a small loss.

I like feeling fit, and not puffing when I climb the stairs, and being able to run for the bus as I had to on Thursday. But it’s much more about a mental state. I would call this a form of prayer. I noticed in yesterday’s Guardian, a quotation from a swimmer: “I swim because it’s a meditation for me. Once you’re into a rhythm I find it really therapeutic.

Turning the pedals, even in a hailstorm, is just like that.

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