I did my first ‘social’ bike ride of the year last weekend, frolicking in sun, daffodils and the onset of picnic weather. My thoughts are thus turning to recipes and route notes, and away from fog and rain, but the misery of English winters hasn’t quite left us yet.
And winter has largely meant X-Biking. I’m a bit of a fair-weather cyclist, truth be told, so my bikes have seen little action over the last few months. X-Biking is a take on spinning, but with moveable handlebars, which means that I can rock along to Bon Jovi whilst pummelling imaginary foes with my arms. Demonstration below (and if it’s good enough for the army, it’s good enough for me…).
It’s more cross-training than cycling, to be honest, but by putting some resistance into the handlebars you not only get to vent any frustrations, but also work out your upper body. All in all, it is thoroughly knackering.
Now to the skiing. I have been nowhere near a bike lately, having returned to snow and minus degrees in Norway, with a copy of Jo Nesbo’s The Leopard under my arm. I was only a few chapters in when I discovered that the murder victim is from Levanger, my home town. Now, believe me, it doesn’t happen often that Levanger is given much mention in the world of fiction, so this was thrilling to say the least - until I got to the following sentence, that is: ‘You can take the girl out of Levanger, but you can’t take Levanger out of the girl’ Is that me, then?
For naturally, the first thing I do when I get back home is to head into the mountains and strap on my skis. This is when I discovered, joy of joys, that I now possess arm muscles. They are rather useful for cross-country skiing, but I have gotten along fairly well without them until now.
I credit X-biking with my new-found advantage, since regular cycling never did much to improve my cross-country abilities. So there you are – miserable English winters are good for something.