Sunday, 20 September 2015

The impact of a motorbike commute on my fitness

I used to ride a Brompton to the train station every morning. A mile and a bit. Then another half mile at the other end to the office. I did this 5 days a week and whilst the accumulated distance was probably just less than 20 miles in a week, the effect was that it kept me ready for fitness.

Sprinting the bike to the next light or making sure I stay in the harder gear on the hill or even just hammering the hell out of the Brompton for the sheer joy and sensation of speed, those 20 miles gave me a little fitness; something that riding a motorbike doesn't.

I used to do those 20 miles, and then I'd run once a twice a week at work. Now that I commute on a motorbike, I find I rarely have the space for a gym kit in the bikes top-box and when I arrive home after concentrating on the road for 70+ minutes, I feel mentally drained. I'm down to 1 run a week now and that's at the weekend.

Brompton M3L. My old Seanie-slimming machine
I also used to sometimes swap out a Brompton day to instead partially run and catch the train so I can do a half marathon. But now having given up on public transport and no longer having a monthly train ticket, the thought of having to run all the way home (about 25 miles), is sometimes a little too much for most days. Of course I'd still have to buy a ticket at least one way or sign myself up for 50 miles around a full days work. And I'd be running with a pack full of work clothes and odds and sods too.

I'm not the greatest planner for training and I'm lucky enough to survive without proper (read: even adequate) training, but I am starting to notice the impact of my daily routine losing those 20 miles.
BMW F800 ST. My new Seanie-fattening machine

In an odd way too, it's actually made me reel away from even riding to work. 25 miles on a fast road bike is nothing. I can easily do the 50 in a day too, with work clothes and stuff in the back-pack, but now that I don't even ride even a little bit. The effort to get started again at the moment feels too large to even try.

The point isn't that motorbikes are a bad choice for commuting, they're definitely not. Motorcyclists are the happiest of all commuters (I read that somewhere). The point is that change to my daily routine, whilst minimal, has affected my overall fitness. The effect of which may start to change my lucky streak with a lack of training and preparation for the events that I love doing.

So either I put in some extra runs or a bike ride each week to keep the fitness, or I accept that I will need to adopt more rigorous and specific training plans for events or reduce the frequency or distance of my beloved ultras.

In the mean time I'll be grinning ear to ear on my new motorbike.