Dave Lehane, a Love to Ride Champion at Page Hall Medical Centre in Sheffield, tells us why riding to work has made him lucky
“You’re lucky” I hear this often at work in relation to my weight. For the record I’m a 47 year old GP, who stands at 6’1” and weighs 73 kg (I’ll stop there before it sounds like my dating app bio). The reason I’m supposed to be lucky, you see, is that at work we have a cabinet behind reception that often has a box of treats, sitting there, just waiting to be eaten. I struggle to walk past without indulging. So you see I am lucky, but not for the reason people think at work, I’m lucky because I cycle to work and have done for the last 19 years.
My bike has always been a source of fun. I can remember messing about on my bike as a kid. Pulling skids, trying wheelies and doing jumps over bunkers at the pitch and putt course (clearly not to be encouraged). As I’ve got older the fun has changed and occasionally it's more of the type 2 fun, but it’s still fun.* I can honestly say I have never enjoyed running and swimming doesn’t hit the right notes either. But a bike is fun!
The health benefits of cycling (other forms of exercise are also available) are well documented: reduction in cardiovascular disease (Stroke, Heart Attack) and reduction in Type II Diabetes and improved mental health. What’s more, because the bicycle does not impact upon the health of others due to its minimal environmental impact (my wife states the phrase “zero emissions” cannot include me), the health benefits apply to more than just the person on the bike. There is also very new and exciting recent research showing that cycling benefits some patients suffering with Parkinson’s Disease by improving symptoms by up to 30%.
So I’m lucky because cycling allows me to get to work faster than on the rare occasions when I have to drive.
I’m lucky because it allows me to clear my mind. Cycling is what’s known as an “active meditation” because it’s hard to worry about other things when your mind is occupied with riding your bike.
I’m lucky because it’s exercise that has become part of my daily routine and improves my physical health.
And finally I’m lucky because riding my bike to work means that I can eat the odd chocolate biscuit (or five) without too much worry...
*Type 2 fun = the type of fun you experience after the event has past. This can sometimes take a few days to develop into fun.