Learning the deadly artform known as cycling


3 weeks ago my only form of exercise was walking from my car to the office as I huffed and puffed my way into work — and even that would piss me off. My diet consists of nicotine, coffee and food — lots of food. Especially junk food, I fucken love that stuff.

If you don’t know me, you could be thinking ‘Geeze, I bet he’s a fat bastard’, well I’m not. If anything, I look like a white Ethiopian orphan with colourful drawings on my arms.

This story really starts back in 2012 when, during a work social club photo safari, I was rushed to hospital where I learned that I had likely just experienced a heart attack. Probably a combination of some good old-fashioned drug abuse in my younger days catching up with me, and my body telling me how lazy I’d been. After getting a good serving of morphine and being told I’d need to stay in hospital, I then checked myself out against their advice, on the condition I see my GP on Monday and take a lot of pills with me. I then waited for my team to pick me up so we could continue the work event thing. Of course, as I waited to be picked up, I had a cigarette. Pro-tip; Morphine can make any work event the greatest thing you’ve ever experienced.


Most painful thing I’ve ever experienced

Fast-forward to 2016. I noticed my circulation was really bad one day, a  symptom of smoking, obviously, but I’ve tried everything to quit, short of locking myself in a cabin on a mountain, wrapped up in a straitjacket. I had to do something to get active. I always found walking boring as hell. The gym? Shit no, I wouldn’t be caught dead in a gym, reasons for that could make a killer blog post on its own. So I decided I would purchase a bike.

The last bike that I owned I actually wrote off on my way to high school by ploughing into a power pole and getting knocked out cold in the process. Needless to say, I didn’t really get into biking after that.

Choosing a bike was an embarrassing process on its own, the last time I had to do this I picked an ‘Avanti Voltage’  (don’t judge, I was only 13). I knew nothing about bikes, I just knew my budget and relied on others to point me in the right direction. I walked into one shop and saw a person from work, I hid myself in a corner hoping they wouldn’t see a clueless me pretending to know what I was on about.  The bike I ended up buying was this one here, don’t ask me any questions about it, because I don’t know the answers, except its green and black and feels comfortable to get my pedal on.

Here's my bike doing a sexy pose.

Here’s my bike doing a sexy pose.

The first thing I remembered when I hopped onto the bike was just how fun biking is, followed very closely by the feeling of “Holy shit! This will kill me”

My biking goals are small to begin with:

1 – At least 10km a week

2 – Eventually bike to and from work

3 – Better my monthly distance

4 – Don’t die doing it

5- Breathe, remember to breathe!

6 – Repeat option 4

My longer term goal is to ride the Otago rail trail.

I am under no illusion that this will be easy, and no illusion that I’ll be good at this overnight. Being passed on the way home from buying the bike by a 60 year-old certainly put my ego into check. But I really am enjoying it so far — well, except for the feeling of death tapping on my shoulder whilst I pedal along!


Angus Westgarth

Author: Angus Westgarth

Proud Timaruvian. Dabbler in many things. Tired.

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