Gym Membership.

I’ve written often, tediously – and some would say tediously often – on the subject of exercise/gym membership and the indisputable fact that the world is not merely going mad, it’s doing so with with big trousers and an apparent glandular problem. Earlier this summer, the planets almost aligned with a fatist agenda meeting vanity publishing, but – passionate as I am about such things – I really couldn’t be arsed to do anything about it.

So let us change tack a little and consider the rather wobbly backside of the problem. A fella at work has seen Jabba The Hut staring back at him on too many mornings, and decided the answer is to join a Gym. He proudly announced this to a hardcore audience, all bitterly cynical and wondering how their dreams of becoming an astronaut had not properly been realised while working in an office shouting at computers, and frankly they weren’t impressed.

Twp reasons; firstly we all know that Gym’s have a cunning business model based on 90{45ac9c3234d371044e23e276755ef3a4dde8f1068375defba7d385ca3cd4deb2} of their customers not turning up after the first two weeks, and secondly because this 14 day usage had extracted£480 UP FRONT from his trousered funds. Okay it’s London and everything inside that alien planet has many shades of wrong, but the thick end of five hundred smackeroons in order to wobble sweatily in front of mirrors and watch Jeremy Kyle?

And they say Mountain Bikers are mad. We’re barely borderline psychotic compared to Mr. Fat Fuckwit and his body issues. Really, two types of people go to gyms, those who have genetically fast fingers, eyes and mouths wrapped in lazy blubber, and those who don’t need to go at all, but enjoy waxing themselves up with whale jism while admiring the results. Most of them seem to work in sales or marketing. You never know, outside chance of a heart attack and they’re not anywhere near me, so hey fill your boots/boobs/whatever.

That picture represents about£480 and it’s my unimpeachable counter-argument to gym membership. Ah, but you don’t have a bike in there I hear you wheeze. Well fatty, here’s how it goes, the bike is a given, riding through the seemingly unending winter is quite something else. Because like the gym run, slogging through four months of the grim is almost entirely based on guilt. No rider wants to get fat and sloth like over winter, but many do because the trails are under the water table, and it’s easier to change channels than change clothes.

So this is what you do, turn that guilt into opportunity. Go out and spend proper money on wet and cold weather gear that makes riding for hours in those conditions, which has most ordinary people worrying about the roof, in almost complete comfort. Okay it is not sofa comfort, the wind still bites, exposed bits are apparently unattached and there are times when the “what the fuck am I doing ?” gene is straining to overwhelm your commitment gland. But that’s not a reason to stop, it’s nothing more than an excuse – between which is the gap between keeping the faith and keeping a larger winter wardrobe.

Last night was another great example. For the first time in weeks, it wasn’t pissing down. But the ground was sodden from a month of rain, the tops were ice cold and freezing, lower down the mud sported the thinnest of frozen crust easily breached by knobbly tyre. The windchill was epic, and we had one of those rides where everyone has a mechanical or a puncture or both. But the visibility was unlimited, the sparkly views warmth for the soul and the temporary ownership of the hills absolute. And while you’re feeling pretty damn privileged to have unlimited access to wide open spaces and big hills, all that stuff is just getting on with making sure you have the best time possible.

It’s so different to even a few years ago. Suspension forks don’t need nightly rebuilds, tyres grip on almost anything, gears work well and brakes better, lights no longer shake themselves to death, waterproof shorts are, breathable jackets do and leak proof shoes don’t. Whenever someone asked – generally with a look of incredulation – why you would “want to go out in THAT”, I sort of feel sorry for them.

Because they’re going to the Gym. And worse still, they seem to think they’ve got the better half of the bargain.


3 thoughts on “Gym Membership.

  1. nickc

    Having said all that, there is something positive about gyms that you most certainly don’t get on the hills at night (unless your mates are up for a bit of experimentation)…

  2. Alex

    We’re in Herefordshire remember. And we have sheep. And it’s dark.

    I know what you mean tho, it is a certain rite of passage to fall off a treadmill because your brain can no longer be bothered to instruct your legs, as something far more important is bobbing up and down in a sports bra.

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