As Peter Cook, in character as EL Wisty used to drone in his nasal way “Do you want to know an interesting fact?” and he would go on to tell his fact regardless. Well, I’m going to tell you one…
Around about 80 million years ago, when Lewes was at the bottom of a tropical sea, flint was formed from jellyfish (and other soft-bodied creatures such as sponges). The decaying bodies of these creatures flowed into burrows that animals such as lobsters had made in the seabed (today’s chalk), and over aeons formed the beds of flint we see exposed today. There, that is an actual interesting fact.
What’s this got to do with cycling? Well, frankly, not much… except that it did get me thinking about transformation.
Most of us soft-bodied creatures like the idea of being fit and healthy, but, with the exception of a small number of highly-motivated athletes, most people – me included – drift along not quite finding enough time to turn good intention into action.
Do you want to know another interesting fact? No. Well, you’re getting it anyway…
The South Downs National Park contains over 1200km of car-free bridleways. The bicycle is your tool and the Downs your gymnasium. You don’t need to get bogged down with fancy equipment and lycra speedsuits (though these have their place) or worrying about your fitness when you start out.
Get yourself the local Ordnance Survey Explorer maps (sheets OL11 and OL25 for around Lewes), pick a route and set yourself a challenge. Cycle up to Black Cap, ride to Eastbourne (and get the train back) or maybe do the whole of the South Downs Way. Do as much as you can, push your bike uphill, stop for a rest – it doesn’t matter how you do it, just that you do it. Then, reward yourself with a pint/cake/snooze.
If you’d like to see some of the rides the staff and friends of Cycleshack do you can join Strava and look at our group: Cycleshack Riders.
Transformation. We’ve all got commitments and sometimes we feel deadbeat, and yet if you can find the motivation to get out you’ll almost certainly never regret it. Beauty, serenity and fitness are literally on your doorstep. Get on your bike, get out there and feel the amazing physical and mental benefits of exercising in one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes – just make sure you’ve got some decent tyres… those old jellyfish have still got a sting.
If you’d like advice on routes and kit for getting out on the Downs, call in to either branch of Cycleshack and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction. We’re also running a series of off-road shop rides on Tuesday nights and Sunday mornings. Tuesday nights are quite demanding mountain bike rides, whilst Sunday mornings are a little more relaxed tours of the downland. More information is available on our Facebook page.
More interesting facts from EL Wisty here.