Sometimes, tragically, it’s not possible to go for a bike ride.
Perhaps work commitments and your innate professionalism mean you simply can’t find the time to get out on the bike, in which case your self-control and will power are admirable.
Perhaps you are smack bang in the middle of the “coldest winter since records began”, as cold winters always seem to be described, and you are wondering whether you might relocate to Siberia for its slightly more favourable riding conditions.
Perhaps you are struggling with one of those persistent respiratory conditions so common to cyclists who just cannot resist riding in the cold, wind and rain; you’re busy relishing the boost to your hard man credentials, whilst simultaneously cultivating a deep rooted chest complaint which will still have you coughing and spluttering come April.
Maybe you accidentally found yourself married with kids in your late thirties, and grappling desperately with the unbounded joy of raising children whilst watching your performance on the bike drop off the proverbial cliff due to sleep deprivation, guilt, and a simple lack of hours in the day.*
(*This example is purely hypothetical, illustrative, and in no way related to a real person either living or dead.)
The fact is that many of us cyclists are somewhere between slightly, and disproportionately obsessed with our current fitness levels, possible future fitness levels, and past fitness levels which may or may not now be physiologically attainable.
In short, the thought of becoming unfit, and the pain and suffering this will involve as you diligently try and regain fitness whilst carrying a few extra pounds around the waist is too much to contemplate. Getting mercilessly flogged by your child-free-work-shy-clean-bill-of-health mates on every ride is no fun.
And don’t talk to me about endorphins; as if the mental anguish of being denied the simple pleasure of a bike ride wasn’t enough, science has to get involved too.
When I was young I‘d never heard of endorphins and, frankly, I didn’t miss them. In fact, I’m fairly sure that they weren’t even invented until at least the late 90’s. I can’t imagine people in the 70’s running around rattling on about endorphins – apart from anything they were apparently too busy cultivating massive facial hair and worrying about what Russia was up to.*
(*Which, on the face of it, is pretty much how we’re spending our time nowadays too, which rather defeats my argument. Anyway…)
Now I know about all about endorphins, and the mood enhancing benefits to be had from simple exercise, and voila! – a few days without a bike ride and I morph into Mr Grumpy.