Cycling, my medicine of choice

My plans for 2022 have taken a bit of a knock. Despite all my precautions and care, a few weeks ago I tested positive for COVID-19. I am triple vaccinated, and I suspect this is why I didn’t suffer the full intensity of symptoms. Nevertheless, I was quarantined for two weeks and during this time the virus worked its way diligently throughout my body, with symptoms popping up and disappearing, just to be replaced by something more unpleasant.

A couple of days ago however, I finally tested negative and was officially released back into the wild. My first instinct after being stuck indoors for two weeks was to simply get outside and carry on as I did before. Prudence however demanded otherwise (good old Prudence). The lingering tightness in my chest and concerns about the possible long-term impact of long COVID worried me slightly. I should take things easy and recover.

Nevertheless, desperate to get out, I took ol’ reliable Hamish and went out for a short ride in the crisp sunshine of early March. I certainly wasn’t aero, muffled up and dressed in my civvies, comprising of jeans, jumper and bodywarmer. I forced myself to ride slowly to avoid overwhelming my lungs, and to protect me from the biting wind.

I am a bit of a speed junkie on the bike, and I love the feeling of riding quickly, with the wind whooshing around me. Riding so slowly and deliberately however seemed so pure, reminding me why cycling means so much to me. It’s not simply a way from getting from A to B, nor is it about the thrill of speed. This time, I just let my legs spin, sat upright and embraced passing through and being part of my surroundings.

I noticed little things around me. A few people were standing near a small park, and dismounting, I quickly realised that they were looking at 6 llamas which were being taken for a walk. They certainly made for right old a spectacle, and whilst taking a photo, one advanced towards me and stared at me menacingly.

I was feeling adventurous, and I decided to turn off the path which I ride along so frequently, heading towards the Strandbad Kritzendorf, a swimming resort by the Danube which is a popular place for the locals in summer. I’ve passed the place often enough, but never took the time to look closely.

That day I also rediscovered my love of photography, and I quickly lost myself taking photos in the seemingly abandoned resort, and the surrounding labyrinth of tiny houses on stilts (designed to keep them safe from flooding). The area is really unique and has such charm, with each tiny house having a different colour, style, and state of disrepair – each seemingly reflecting its owner’s personality. This is definitely a place I’ll have to visit again. I’ve added some of my photos below which hopefully capture the spirit of the place.

After two weeks locked up indoors, getting back on the bike felt like putting on an old glove. The saddle was set just right and the handlebars felt moulded to my hands. I relished the sensation of clipping in. Riding off into the street, the bike rolled like butter, the chain quietly ticking, and the gear shifts crisp and familiar. The vaccine and medicine had worked, and my body had successfully fought off the virus.

Now is the time for my body and mind to recover and heal – and my bike was just what the doctor ordered.


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