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Of course, there are cyclists who go out looking for fitness despite all the obvious warning signs (Google “Chris Froome shirtless” for examples of such warning signs), but for many of us, fitness is something we acquire quite by accident. Maybe you find yourself with some time off work, so you decide to do some binge riding, or maybe you sign up for a big cycling event that takes you a little bit outside your comfort zone, and your endorphins trick you into feeling like you’ve accomplished something.
Afterwards, you’re a little more tired than usual, but all it takes is a little recovery ride for the husks to fall off your legs, and you emerge feeling lighter, stronger, and faster than you did before.
Common sense would have it that the biggest risk you face when cycling is that of injury, whether due to driver inattention, equipment failure, or coyote attack.
But there’s another misfortune that can befall you that is in some ways ways equally as debilitating: Succumbing to a condition that is known as “getting fit.” On the surface of it, this might seem like an absurd comparison.
After all, an injury will keep you off your beloved bike, while being fit will allow you to ride that bike even more.
However, such facile comparisons fail to account for the insidious nature of fitness, the difficulty in managing it, and the long-term problems both on and off the bike that are commonly associated with it.
Your increased training volume also means you’re using up equipment much faster now: you go through chains like you used to go through tires, and tires like you used to go through socks.
So while you may in fact be going the same distance with less effort thanks to your fitness, you’re also buying more expensive equipment and using more of it, exponentially reducing the distance that your cycling dollar will go.
The sensation of riding the same distances you used to with less effort is an intoxicating one.
It’s in pursuit of this sensation that people do things like buy ,000 wheelsets and 0 digital tire pressure monitors—and, in certain circumstances, even add motors to their bikes.
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