Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Cycling With Vegetables

It's not to be recommended. Honestly. Take my word for it.

And I'm not talking about going for a Sunday run with the local cycling club. Today I mostly cycled with potatoes. Big Mistake.

I could have gone for the small bag of Charlotte spuds but I can never resist a King Edward and they only do them in 3lb bags so, dreaming of buttery, fluffy mash and golden roasties, I grabbed a bag.

I knew I should have considered more carefully when they plummeted to the bottom of the rucksack with a definitive thud.

The carrots didn't help either. Or the value pack of baby parsnips. Or the double pack of broccoli.

Then there was the work stuff it was essential to take home. (Note to self: Must take the 2006 and 2007 diaries out of the Filofax.)

We are told repeatedly that vegetables are good for us. But it was 26 degrees and I felt close to death on the draggy hill to home which is always the killer after a long ride.

The object lesson is don't cycle with vegetables.

There is nothing to be gained except exhaustion and fitness. Exhaustion isn't pleasant apart from the excuse to lie flat out on the bed like the Leonardo da Vinci's Vetruvian Woman and fall deeply asleep. (Yes I know it was Vetruvian Man but obviously I don't look remotely similar).

Fitness is over-rated.

The really unreasonable thing about fitness if that it hangs around for a bit just so long as you exert yourself almost every day. It'll let you have the odd day off for good behaviour as long as you promise to go straight back to some kind of exercise the following day.

But if fitness even gets the teeniest whiff that you have better things to do than get pink and every-so-slightly-glowing while exerting yourself, it does a runner, leaving you feeling like a person who's gained four stones overnight and has just recovered from 'flu.

So if you want to gain fleeting fitness by all means lug King Edwards about. Anyone who knows anything about Gloucester RFC will remember that was the preferred training method of England player (tight -head prop/hooker/ ?? can't remember) Phil Blakeway. He used to work out by carrying not only veg but fruit too, being a fruit and veg wholesaler.

For those of sensible dispositions who are not interested in scratching the back of fitness, here is my cut-out and keep guide to cycling with vegetables.

Say YES to cycling with Curly Kale, Salad Bags (but beware of the whole lettuces although Baby Gem lettuces don't weigh much), Cress, Parsley and sundry herbs but watch the weight of the root ginger, asparagus, teeny tomatoes, spring onions, those hopeless little beans from Africa which cost about £4 to feed two people, shredded cabbage (mostly air, anyway) ready-grated carrot (also mostly air, so fine but for maximum value for money remember to breath it in when you open the bag).

Say NO to cycling with potatoes, carrots, celeriac, kohl rabi, turnips, parsnips, onions (unless strung around the shoulders because that is a cycling tradition in France, I'm told), cauliflowers, cabbages, kings, and really massive tomatoes.

I wasn't going to mention melons because, strictly speaking they are fruit but everyone - men included - is advised to avoid cycling with melons. They can be unruly and you might overbalance. You know it makes sense. Your health is at stake.

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