A few blog posts ago (I Am Strapped) I wrote about a running injury I had developed. The physio’s final diagnosis was that the pain was caused by a weak inner thigh muscle. She showed me some exercises that I was told to do ten times, three times a day, for the rest of eternity. She even drew me this nice diagram:
The problem was, I couldn’t make head or tail of it. I knew I needed to do the exercises lying on the floor. I’m actually quite a fan of lying on the floor. The thing is, it’s not all that practical – it’s not something you can do while you wait in the queue at Woolies or while you’re stopped at a red traffic light. Not like Kegels (those exercises you’re supposed to do when you’re preggers) which you can, theoretically, do anytime, any place. I can’t say that I ever
remembered bothered to do my Kegels so the chances of me lying on the floor and doing something I don’t really understand, were looking slim from the outset…
Enter The Husband’s take on my injury:
“Cycling really strengthens that muscle.”
Ordinarily, I would have been suspicious of such a statement but since he started cycling, he has often thrust a flexed thigh at me and gone: “Look at my muscle!” I then need to exclaim on the magnitude of the protrusion above his knee. In fairness, one day there was nothing and the next day, after many months of intense cycling, there really was a protrusion. It was this development that led me to the following conclusion: if I got my arse on a bicycle once in a while, then perhaps I wouldn’t need to do three sets of three things I didn’t understand three times a day. You see the logic?
Given his obsession with cycling, you’d have thought The Husband would’ve jumped into immediate action when I announced that I would deign to don a pair of thigh hugging lycra pants with a built in butt cushion. Instead, this is what ensued:
The Husband: “Hmmm. We’ll need to buy you a bike.”
Me: “You own eight bikes.”
(This is not an exaggeration, although two are fixed, indoor trainers and one is on long term long to his cycling partner. Still, every time I drive into the garage, I see FIVE BIKES taking up valuable storage space. Space where I could put unused baby baths, the spare desk that is an eyesore in our study…the list goes on. In short, I do not want another bike on the premises.)
The Husband: They’re all special.
Me: You are joking, right? You’ve been begging me to cycle with you for four years and you won’t lend your special wife one of your FIVE special bikes? Here…What about this one?
The Husband: The Eddie Merckx? Are you INSANE? My Eddie Merckx? Have you lost your mind?
Me: It’s the prettiest one, but whatever. What about this one?
The Husband: This Giant is a top end, top quality bike. Carbon fibre, integrated seat post…(and various snoring, boring, apparently fantastic features which I obviously can’t recall)
Me: Sounds good. I’ll take it.
The Husband: You can’t. Even if I wanted you to ride it, which I don’t, you can’t because it has an integrated seat post.
Me: What the cr*p is that?
The Husband: The seat was especially built for me. You can’t change the height.
Me: Well that’s just stupid. But fine. What about this Giant, seeing as you have two of them.
The Husband: They’re not the same.
Me: They look exactly the same. But whatever. Why can’t I ride this one?
The Husband: It also has an integrated seat post and don’t bother eyeing my Yeti because it has one too.
Me: What about this one here? Old Scotty Boy?
The Husband: I would MAYBE consider letting you ride the Scott, even though it’s a really special bike… But it doesn’t have pedals.
Brilliant. Five bikes with immovable seats and no pedals.
Threats to never climb on a bike as long as I lived mobilised The Husband to make a plan. He bought pedals for his beloved Scott and painstakingly attached them to the bike with complex looking, tool-like things.
(I have often asked him how it is that he can morph into a bike mechanic with a toolbox the size of Bob The Builder’s but can’t put up a picture. He tells me it’s like me and cooking – meaning, I can cook but I just don’t want to.)
Finally, after about two weeks of discussion on the topic of me riding a bike around the block, we were all set this Sunday afternoon. The Princess was asleep. We’d raided the neighbourhood’s nanny network and found someone to babysit. I was wearing the most unflattering pair of cycling pants that helped to expose a beautiful set of muffin tops. The Husband was hopping with excitement. In short, we were all set.
The ride was very pleasant. I was thinking that this was a really pleasant way to spend time. You could get to all your favourite haunts so much quickly, in the fresh air (e.g. red velvet cupcakes at Belle’s Patisserie). You can stop off along the way, grab a coffee, chat while riding. This was fun. I could do this.
And then The Husband decided to introduce statistics.
“We’ve ridden just over 8km in 52 minutes,” he announced. “You can run as fast as this. Only just, but you can.”
I thought it would be too demotivating to ask what his little gadget said about calorie burn. Probably one whole skinny cappuccino.
And to top it all off, my arse is still sore four days later.