Fluorescent green in the saddle
“Air and exercise provide the best sanitary council.” Theodor Fontane (1819–1898), German writer, journalist, storyteller and theatre critic
Covid-19 has made me a cyclist. In the past 14 months, ever since the virus got its stranglehold on us, bit by bit, I’ve become an involuntary environmental activist! Great, isn’t it? Environmental activist! By the way, I get a lot of applause for this from my family and friends – via Whatsapp, text message or similar contactless social media. It’s safer that way.
In the past, I only used to ride my bike to get some bread from the bakery every now and then, because it was just around the corner. Now I use my bike come what may – rain, hail or snow. With the end of winter approaching, I hope such weather will now disappear. I hope! However, it’s not clear. You can never trust the weather.
No matter. All this doesn’t scare me any more. I’ve come to terms with it. Heated socks and bicycle grips are part of my standard equipment, as is a decent-sized splash guard on my front mudguard. My fluorescent green mac and my rain gaiters have become my favourite items of clothing. Not only for safety reasons. The suit glows in the dark. Cool.
I’ve also overcome my aversion to helmets. I used to have a feeling of being locked in as soon as I had a lid like that on my head. That’s changed. Now I have a helmet that can be adjusted to any weather and speed situation, through battery-controlled, adjustable vents. Of course, turning signals and headphones are also integrated into this state-of-the-art helmet.
To get to and from work, I pedal about 60 km on my tough, top-of-the-range Brooks saddle. I now actually enjoy cycling. They say it’s supposed to be healthy as well. I’m still miles away from a six-pack, but hey – never give up hope.
It’s clear that cycling takes a bit more time than getting from A to B by car. You have to know that. Who cares? Meeting friends is taboo for the time being anyway, for safety reasons, and what would you have to say to each other anyway once you meet up? Nothing’s happening, is it?
My family now no longer goes on the barricades because I don’t spend enough time at home. In fact, I have the impression that everything is a bit more relaxed at the moment than before the outbreak of Covid-19. That’s a good thing.
We simply have to get through it all somehow. Complaining has never helped. The Swiss humanist and cultural historian Jacob Christoph Burckhardt (1818–1897) was probably right when he said that “there’s only life in movement – however painful it is.”