Cycling the lanes, or walking the paths, of Dorset?

The Country Lane at Sunset
A beautiful Dorset country lane at sunset…..a great time to be out in the country

Life seems to have been busy recently, or perhaps more precisely, the lovely weather has kept me from sitting at my computer and writing 🙂 ! I have been out on quite a few bike rides around the lanes of Dorset, in fact, this seems to have taken over a bit from walking over the last few weeks. This has partly been because I am really enjoying my cycling because I have become a little more ‘bike fit’, but it is also partly because I have bought a new saddle and I am trying to break it in to make it comfortable.

I have read up a lot on saddles and there is a quite a strong feeling out there that having a soft saddle for comfort is a fallacy, but rather that a hard saddle is in fact more comfortable in the long run. I could identify with the arguments for this, so I bit the bullet and bought a Brooks leather saddle. These are hard to sit on initially but the theory is that as it softens and becomes more pliable, it will shape to the posterior that rests on it, thus making it more comfortable. So far I have ridden a couple of hundred miles on mine so I need to use it longer before it truly ‘fits’ – this can take several hundred miles according to some sources, so the jury is out at the moment.

The New Saddle
Hard but comfortable – is that a contradiction?

I have in any event been thinking that the issue may not be the saddle. My reasoning is that I always have issues on the right side and not the left. Since the saddle is uniform and identical on both sides, that would suggest that maybe I have an issue with either my right sit bone or my right hamstring – it is difficult to establish exactly what is causing the pain since they are interlinked. I’m not sure how I narrow it down but I’m hoping that the saddle, when it softens and moulds, will improve the situation anyway.

I’ve also been thinking for some time about walking versus cycling because I enjoy both. The problem I find is that to really enjoy walking, you need to be ‘walking fit’, and to really enjoy cycling, you need to be ‘bike fit’, and both activities use different muscle sets. Now, of course you can enjoy both for shorter distances, or probably if you are younger, but as a senior citizen spending whole days out, you tend to need to maintain fitness in one or the other discipline, which means doing it often. This of course might be just me, but it is my experience that to fully enjoy walking or cycling for a whole day or multiple days, it helps if you are fully fit for that activity otherwise it can be a struggle. I remember when I was young and raced on the bike, I thought I was about as fit as I could get, until I tried to play football!

The thing is, I love both for different reasons. Both involve being in the outdoors which is great, but cycling allows you to cover longer distances and therefore go farther afield. Walking is simpler though because you can stop anywhere you fancy and take in all of your immediate surroundings without having to keep a constant eye on what other traffic is doing. Of course, if you want to get a coffee or visit a church or some other building, you also don’t have to worry about what you are going to do with your bike. However, you can’t coast downhill as you can on a bike, in fact, walking downhill can be harder than walking uphill! With both you probably have to cover bits of ground that you don’t particularly want to whether it be walking along a road between footpaths, or cycling along a main road between country lanes.

I could go on to talk about cows which rarely affect road cycling, or aerobic exercise which is better with cycling, or punctures and mechanical problems, or arthritic ankles, weather……etc etc. At the end of the day, walking and cycling are both great ways to spend a day and you ‘pays your money and takes your choice’! At the moment, all I would say is that walking doesn’t give you a sore bottom 🙂 !

Thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings, and I hope you enjoy exploring with me.

Until next time,
Your friend
The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All words and pictures in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and may not be reproduced without permission.

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3 Comments

  1. About 20 years ago, I took my bike on a 300 mile fair weather B&B tour of the Purbecks. It was thrilling. I never imagined we’d retire to Bournemouth. I still ride. Would you give your loyal readers an idea of the lanes you enjoy Dorsetting on, please?

    1. The Purbecks is a beautiful area to ride and walk Peter, I spend a lot of time there although I usually keep away during the school holidays because it does get very busy. I will certainly put up a post covering some of my favourite cycling lanes. Thanks for your comment.

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