Five things I hate about cycling: Sweating

Previously, I told you that my fifth biggest hate about cycling was Hills. Coming in at number 4 is: Sweating, and the need to shower.

The problem

Cyclist on a bike, in a shower, silhouette.So why is that you ask? First off, if you aren’t male, you may not be aware of the scale of the problem. A 2006 study showed that if you exercise 14 fit men for an hour and a half, they will produce nearly 16 litres of sweat between them. As a comparison, your average bucket is about 9 litres. Men literally are capable of sweating buckets.

This wouldn’t be a problem if our society wasn’t so discriminatory. One side effect of civilisation, it appears, is that there is no such thing as sweaty professionalism. Apparently the ideal businessman does not have wet patches back and front of his suit, and it seems that most people don’t want their doctor to be dripping whilst they examine you.

Unfortunately, on the scale of sweatyness, running from 1 (A rock) to 10 (Really old Brie, wrapped in socks, in a plastic bag, in monsoon season), I hit about a 9: I am definitely a sweat monster, especially when I have to deal with hills.

This all ends up frustrating me, since I can rarely use cycling to replace my normal mode of transport without knowing that I have somewhere to change afterwards. It means that I have to pre-plan every trip, often having to check out new locations at least once before I can cycle it.

Replacing a 10 minute car trip becomes rather impractical, since it becomes a 30 minute cycle, followed by a 10 minute hunt for showers, and 20 minutes making myself look presentable. And when the showers are locked/being replaced/filled with stacked chairs – all of which have happened to me – it can be a real problem.

A few years ago, I cycled 7 miles to work, only to realise I had forgotten my suit! It is hard to express the extreme misery I felt inside when I realised that I was going to have to cycle all the way back home, grab a suit, drive in and be an hour late for work into the bargain. If I could have cycled in a suit without fear of drowning, this problem would go away.

The solution

This brings me onto my solution for Sweating – compulsory laser treatment for all men, coupled with a readjustment in the attitudes of society toward odour. Sorted.

This article is part of my Five things I hate about cycling series. Read the rest here

Five things I hate about cycling: Hills

Silhouette of a man cycling uphillI don’t actually hate hills per se, just hate that I find them the biggest mental obstacle to getting out on my bike more.

In fact, I tend to savour the “burn” that hits you whilst you climb up them, and the post-exertion endorphins after the hill levels out. The feeling of achievement at the completion of a big climb is fantastic too.

The problem

What I don’t like is that when I contemplate going for a ride, the first thing that jumps into my head is “Nah, can’t be bothered”. This is probably because I live in Sheffield, erroneously renowned for being built on 7 hills, like Rome. This is wrong – Sheffield is worse, it has 8.

Leaving my house in Sheffield, I can cycle about 2 miles without pedalling, zipping down roads of seemingly ever increasing grade. The downside of this is that every single ride I ever take is followed by an ankle grinding crawl back up to somewhere high above the cloud line.

And it’s not just me. When London first trialled their cycle scheme, they had a problem with bikes disappearing from the stations at the top of hills, and the stations at the bottom being too full. The problem has been even worse in Paris and Barcelona, both cities that have more hills. In Sheffield, I suspect they would need some kind of continual conveyor belt, back up from town into Crookes.

The solution

This brings me onto the perfect solution for Hills – the city council needs to built a ski lift up to my house. Sorted.

This article is part of my Five things I hate about cycling series. Read the rest here