MID-LIFE CYCLIST (CYCLING IN PORTUGAL)
This post is written by hubby AKA Adrian. He thought it would be good to have a post on cycling in Portugal as he’s a bit of a cycle fanatic and we often joke that instead of having a midlife crisis he is a midlife cyclist. I can see the attraction of cycling in Central Portugal as the weather is very beautiful for several months of the year and there are plenty of hills to challenge you. Unfortunately I can’t cycle as I have no coccyx and it causes me pain to be in the seated position and even more agony to cycle. This is a shame as there is nothing more I would like than to cruise around Central Portugal behind my soulmate with a view of his buttocks but sadly this will never happen any time soon. The most crazy experience I have had with cycling was just before we relocated here to Portugal when I knocked a cyclist off his bike whilst I was driving my car to work. It was a traumatic ordeal but luckily the cyclist wasn’t injured and I had literally just pulled off my driveway and technically it was his fault. Hubby was in my car at the time so I had moral support and a witness. We rushed over and helped the poor guy to his feet and offered to take him to the doctors/hospital but he declined. I am so glad I didn’t kill him! I’ve also been on the receiving end as a car hit me off my bicycle when I was in my early 20’s. I was attending night school at college to re-sit my G.C.S.E English Language and a car just didn’t see me late at night in the dark. I have also been hit off my moped when I was 16 on a roundabout by a drunk driver so Helen and bikes just aren’t a match made in heaven. I think God is trying to send me a clear message (ha ha). Then there was a weird and wonderful cycling experience in Bristol, my hometown who hold a “Naked Cycling Day”. Isn’t it funny how all the sexy folk wear body paint or briefs yet the chubsters just go full blown naked and let it all hang out (ha ha). I’ve never seen anything quite like it. 100 people cycling through the middle of a busy town and shopping centre butt naked (ha ha). I bet the saddle got a bit sweaty!
Fanny on Fire
Back in Feb 2021 I decided to try hubby’s indoor smart trainer as it was raining hard and I didn’t want to go on my usual 5k run because I was recently chased by a stray dog who wanted to kill me. It might be a smart trainer but it was NOT a smart idea. Half way through I was wishing that I had just gone for a jog in the rain and even a wild pack of dogs chasing me seemed like a better option. Hats off to all you cyclists, you deserve a medal, it’s definitely not the workout for me. I thought it would hurt my lower back and legs but it just hurt my lady bits! Hubby is a keen cyclist and has these padded shorts but I didn’t want to wear them as (A) I didn’t want to stretch them and (B) The padded areas were not in the right place for a lady. I ended up with a cushion under my rear. I quickly realised that cycling is not for me. You live and learn my friends. I made it through 30 minutes of pure hell. The position of the bike is at an angle putting huge pressure on anatomy that shouldn’t ever have pressure applied to. I was in absolutely agony for days afterwards and I couldn’t walk or close my legs (ha ha). Here I am persevering through the pain. Hubby even attached a little heart rate monitor to me, I’m not sure why, maybe he thought I was going to have a heart attack (ha ha). I have 3 final words: FANNY ON FIRE!
Here is the proof, not the most flattering photos of me and I’m certainly a lot chunkier but on a mission to get fit.
I now officially hand this post over hubby AKA Adrian:
From Bristol to Portugal
When living in Bristol, I used to cycle to and from work almost everyday, rain or shine. Along with going to the gym and Sunday runs with Helen, it kept me fit as my job was mostly desk bound, except for the occasional walk to Tesco and the sandwich shop. Cycling the 7 mile commute to work along the A38 in Bristol was at times very scary, frustrated drivers would often take their anger out on cyclists. I had some nasty close calls and two collisions.
When we moved to Portugal, along with a couple of suitcases, I also brought along my bike in a large bike bag. As I was now working remotely from our home office there was no need for the cycling commute anymore, so the morning commute has now become a morning adventure, loads of new places to explore and our local mountain range Serra do Açor definitely provides some challenges with the steep inclines and altitudes of 1418 metres, it certainly makes my calves burn. I have also met a few stray dogs on my morning jaunts who love to chase me. Helen said I need to keep a few sausages in my pocket.
Rise & Shine it’s Exercise Time – An Early Morning Cycle
Cycling & Nature is Cheaper than Therapy
I often cycle past one of our local river beaches on my morning rides. This is Avô river beach. It’s not difficult to cycle here in Portugal with so much beauty. Helen adores this river beach so much, it’s one of her favourite summer spots.
Mr Neon – Health & Safety
Helen worries about me when I’m out cycling as she thinks an erratic car driver is going to “Hit and Run” and leave me for dead in a ditch. She won’t let me leave the house without reflective high visibility clothing and a helmet. I find car drivers very good here in Portugal and 99% of drivers overtake me with caution and consideration. Another local ride, this time in Winter.
Progress – If there is no Struggle, there is no Progress.
I keep a track of my cycling progress on Strava and I share below a summary of my progress so far (Veloviewer).
A is for Açor, Adrian & Awesome
2 more sleeps until the big race! A beautiful ride up Serra do Açor on my new bike which was donated to me. €1 to anyone who can spot Helen in the photos! Can you tell Helen changed my title, I just had Serra do Açor!
The Race is On! Granfondo Serra da Estrela
I now have a new bike which was kindly donated to me from a semi-pro tri-athlete. I am training hard every morning before work and heading off on 30 km rides including some steep hills to get me prepared for the big race ahead. If it’s raining heavy I use my indoor smart trainer connected to Zwift. I am excited about my upcoming race as it will be the first event we have attended since relocating to Portugal. There are 1200 entries so hopefully I won’t come last, the odds are stacked in my favour. Helen will accompany me as my “Champion Cheerleader” if she can get out of bed at 6am!