Every minute of every day spent on a bike is an education.
When I was 30, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. I’m guessing a mix of hereditary and lifestyle factors sent it soaring to dangerous heights. Being a bit of a hypochondriac at the best of times, I didn’t take the news very well.
For an incredibly long time following the diagnosis, I convinced myself that I wasn’t going to be around for too much longer and was about to be cut down in my prime by a heart attack or stroke.
Depression led to weight gain, and that led to more depression. You get the picture — all this wasn’t helping my blood pressure, or my general health.
Taking Back Control
Buying a bike turned my life around and let me take back control of the situation.
Having not ridden a bike for more than 15 years, at first, I struggled to pedal five miles along the beach close to where I live. I was gradually able to increase my stamina and distances up to the stage where I now think nothing of doing a 50+ mile ride at the weekend, and I have also become a proud member of the 100-mile club (albeit a very slow 100 miles).
The more I cycled, the healthier and happier I became. It also helped me create space in my mind to be more creative and productive at work (I should invoice them for the hours I spend on my bike). As someone who earns a living as a writer, this is invaluable.
Chasing the Sun
Cycling in Portugal helped me develop my passion for cycling that little bit further. It enabled me to add a little adventure to my life. Seriously, who has real adventures these days?
It also showed me that I was capable of doing anything I set my mind to. Sure, I didn’t cycle around the world, or even across Europe, but if I had the time and the inclination (which I think I might do), then with a little preparation and a little planning (might need some help there), I’m sure I could do it.
It also helped me push fear to the back of my mind. Now, I think: What’s the worst that can happen?
In reality, the worst that can happen is just as likely to happen closer to home. In my mind, that is going under a bus, and there is never really a good place for that to happen. If it’s going to happen (and I hope it doesn’t), Portugal is as good or as bad a place as anywhere else. Everything else is manageable if you throw enough thought (and, occasionally, money) at it.
Cycling in Portugal has also brought me closer to my friends, whom I do not get to see as often as I would like.
My goals and achievements have become their goals and achievements, and no matter what life throws at us, we will always have Portugal.
Sure, I still have high blood pressure (which is controlled by drugs), but I don’t let it control me, because as long as I have a bike, I can do whatever I want, knowing that it will only make me stronger.
Where will your next bike ride take you?