There comes a point in your life when you realise you cannot do everything, either running out of time in the day, or tools are still in storage or it just pays to let professionals do it for you.
Well after clocking up numerous miles in France, firstly attempting the Pyrenees Cols and then the following year successfully achieving them without stopping, I had not only put massive strains on my lungs and muscles but also my trusted bike. This photo is at the top of Col de Aspin.
Then when we arrived down here in Portugal, riding was not a top priority as moving Country has so many systems to adhere to and join so exercise was not my daily routine. In this time I started and completed Books 1 and 2,( namely Fireman's Tired Eyes and secondly, Fireman's Tired Eyes and Mind.) Finally, I began to look after myself again, after many years of neglect and abuse due to Fire Service demands and multiple jobs to make ends meet for a growing family.
It was after starting slowly here, where even the small slopes were a challenge that I realised my bike was in serious need of some care and maintenance.
So, naturally, I turned to a professional who rides bikes himself, as does his partner but runs his own shop. Fortunately, the language barrier was ok as he speaks more English than I speak Portuguese. Everything was checked and renewed cables on the breaks as fraying inside the level connections so hidden from the eye, and a new chain. The strain put on the crank and chain whilst continually keeping it under tension whilst climbing 2000 metres in the Pyrenees will stretch it. My legs had the same tension and pressures I am sure.
Onebike, Portimao, Algarve.
If I can recognise that my bike needs assistance and help then why did I for so long ignore my body and its cries for help? Fueling it with crap nutrient foods, the quick fix sugar rush stuff, rather than nutrient-rich energy foods that will sustain me.
Why would I risk having underinflated tyres or faulty brakes or no lights on my bike, knowing full well that any one or all may need to be used at any moment? So, why do we, and I say we, because we are all guilty of it at some point in time, accept that not looking after our own body and mind is the acceptable thing to do?
I am a little OCD maybe with tyres and pressures as I've seen so many accidents and the contributory factor has been soft tyres.
Check your brakes, your tyres and lights. It's a quick overscan. It takes minutes.
If we can do this we can do it for ourselves too.
Check-in on yourself. How are you feeling? Have you eaten?
Are you getting good recovery sleep? Are you aware of what needs addressing?
Is it achievable? The one thing I learnt during my darkest times was that whatever else I needed to eat and keep going. As healthy as I could afford.
If you find your brakes aren't working just before you go out on a ride, would you still go? Or sort them out? Fix them surely!
Check-in on your mates, especially the quiet ones.
No one should suffer in silence, stay connected and use professionals.
This blog is about breaking the stigma of asking for help. I could have done all the work, but my tools are in storage and it makes sense to me to get help. We all need each other from time to time. There is no shame in asking, as a Fireman or a Falconer I was asked to help many times, and I was glad to assist.
My bike is safe and I'm out enjoying the roads and kilometres, ( we are in Europe after all.)
Daily check-ins become daily habits and we don't give these a second thought, we just do them.
Physical exercise is changing my bodies chemistry and my mental health for the better.
Headspace gained and energy changed.
What will you do? Just get out and connect with nature.
This photo is a few months back before the High Fire Risks, up at Mt. Foia, in the Monchique Mountains.
A different blog as lots going on right now, the final book is nearing completion, but still so much to do and I have an interview this week referring to a film documentary with Blue Worm Productions, that will be this year here in Portugal, and then we are organising a 2-week tour of the UK next year.
Who would have thought my ramblings would have got to this point and further still?
I am humbled and honoured to be inspiring and maybe influencing others to take action and help themselves. Encouraging and inspiring take courage and determination on all parties. To say and do it and to openly receive and act on it.
I have always led by example, I hope I don't disappoint. Collectively we are stronger.
Check-in on your health too, and maintain it. Keep safe.