Getting Out and Rolling Along

Picture of Bike in Hallway

It's a troubling time for everyone during the COVID-19 lockdown, not just for the immediate fights with the virus, but also in terms of having to battle with internal anxieties. I wholly accept that I am in a very lucky position compared to the many wonderful frontline teams who are keeping the country moving at this time and making sure we are all looked after. So my growing anxiety about leaving the house will seem ridiculous to most people and a privileged excuse to many.

I'm on my 5th Week of lockdown on my own, but whilst I have been really enjoying working out at home, these past weeks I have only left the house to get food shopping from the supermarket and to walk it up to my mum, who's in her mid 70's, which is about a mile up the road. I haven't used the car since 15th March, because I want to keep it free of infection as an escape pod, if the apocalypse reigns down.. 

Yes, I'm going a tad crazy here and I know its not good. When you go to the supermarket and your head tells you its entirely okay to get really cross with a batty older bird who has no fricking idea about social distancing now that she's got a mask and plastic gloves on. I realised - thanks to family and friendly encouragement, that I need to get out more.

But how do you start? My main road bike is over at my Dad's (20 miles away) and knowing that my previous months of ParkRun haven't exactly shown athletic prowess, I'm not keen to go jogging at the moment. I've been doing loads of HIIT and Weight Training and losing weight, feeling fitter, enjoying activities which are based on logical counting patterns, to help me lose myself in concentration. But it's all been indoors and it's not helping me with isolation and a growing fear of leaving the house. 

So I had a look for another road bike, to use on the turbo trainer and to get me outside and found a lovely ex-display bike, advertised online at a local bike shop, which was very kindly delivered yesterday afternoon.

This morning I woke up with the sun, really wanting to get out and drop the fear of getting back out on my own. So by the time I had hit the roundabout - 1/2 a km from my house, all fears were rationalised, the smile was back in effect, the joy of feeling the breeze over my face and the realisation that it's totally okay to be outdoors and enjoying pretty empty roads. 

Totally the best medicine for me, I really want to get back out again tomorrow, to learn some new routes, climb a few hills and get the heart pumping again. It's not like my anxiety is going to disappear forever, but I know that staying in the house on my own, isn't healthy for me in the long term. We have been given an hour a day for exercise outdoors and whilst this is available, I need to take it when possible. 

Cycling and Running have always been the 'Get Out of Jail Free' card for managing my depression and anxiety, so I am happy to feel like the bike is an accessible remedy for me during these days. I've been learning through art therapy, buddhism and meditation that these negative feelings will be part of my life, that I can acknowledge them, but that I do not have to be entirely controlled by them. 

For now, I'm just glad that I can leave the house and get some fresh air, exercise and learn to love the pedals once more. Just keep me away from country lanes and delivery vans for a little while longer.

Big thanks for the help from Matt at Manual Bikes - It's very much appreciated xx

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