Matt Heath: Time to harden up and get on yer bike

Publish Date
Monday, 25 June 2018, 11:34AM
NZ Herald

NZ Herald

By Matt Heath

Winter has come. It's freezing cold and wet. Which is a great time to get on your bike and hit the streets.

Winter is where we find out who the real cyclists are. It's all very well riding to work in the summer. Wheeling around like Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Movie. Sitting up nerdily straight with the sun on your face. But pounding away in your humiliating wet weather gear shows true mettle.

Auckland is a beautiful city. Our beaches, volcanoes and parks are breathtaking. We have phenomenal restaurants and bars.

We are arguably more intelligent, hygienic and better in the sack than the rest of the country combined. Our city is perfect. Except it's nearly all hills. Add in the regular torrential rain, endless roadworks, angry traffic and cycling becomes challenging. Which is fine because anyone worth their salt loves a challenge.

As the great and powerful Joe Rogan says: "There are consequences in constantly seeking comfort and avoiding discomfort."

A recent robust survey showed that most Aucklanders love bike lanes. A completely unscientific poll on an inhospitable forum - Mike Hosking's Facebook page went even higher with 79 percent loving bike lanes. Turns out most of Hosking's people want to marry and have babies with the cycle ways.

But even if you think cycle lanes are the work of the devil. You have to admit riding to work is better for you than driving. It makes you stronger.

It's not a left right political issue. I don't ride around to save the planet. I just want to get to work and fight my lard-arse-ness at the same time. Cycling is the solution. The problem is winter.

So how do you motivate yourself in the cold months?. Easy. Commit to it. Just harden up and do it. Ride every day rain or shine. Get your water proof gears on and hit the road before you can think about it. Don't allow excuses. Don't be a pussy.

Obviously some people have to drive to work. Builders, plumbers, couriers. Anyone with a real job probably needs a truck, van or ute. Some of you have to cross the bridge.

Some of you commute from Rodney, Helensville or Drury. That's fine. You guys are off the hook. But if like me you have a soft indoor job within cycling distance it's probably time to get out there. Do it simply because driving is the weaker option. It's wussy. Sitting there with your heater on 28C probably enjoying the wildly popular Matt and Jerry Breakfast Show on Hauraki. It's all too fun. All too easy. Harden up.

Next time you're behind the wheel in the driving take a look out the window at your fellow Aucklander on his bike. You can't deny he's running a tougher transport regime than you are. Sure he's lit up like a Christmas tree, wearing embarrassing waterproof pants and a skid-lid. Sure he looks like he's going to cry. But he's still the man and you're the little baby.

Motorcyclists will be laughing at the suggestion that cyclists are tough. You definitely look meaner than us push-bikers. There's no doubt your helmets and leathers are cooler. In fact you whole set-up looks awesome. But you have an engine. Which makes you lazy. Self-propulsion is simply harder work. Which makes us tougher. Maybe not in a bar-fight but out on the roads.

"But it's wet" we whimper like children. Why are you scared of rain? Humans are waterproof. You prove that in the shower every morning.

You could safely ride in the nude if you want. As long as you remain seated near schools. Plus you're 60 per cent water on the inside. So if the moisture penetrates your outer layer, no problem. Yet most of us freak out and scamper to our cars whenever it rains. Weak.

Biking is the hard option. In winter even more so. So if you don't need your car for work, ride your bike. It's not a left- or right-side of some stupid political spectrum thing. Don't do it for the environment, Do it for your self-respect. A challenge. Choosing discomfort over comfort makes you stronger. So have you got what it takes or are you scared of being soggy, cold and humiliatingly dressed?

You have a choice. Jump on your bike or remain happy and entertained but soft and wussy in your comfy warm car. Up to you.


This article was first published on nzherald and is republished here with permission.

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