back on the bike

This week I decided to try cycling to work again. I hadn’t cycled to work (or anywhere) in a really long time — maybe the start of the year, or toward the end of last year — and I thought it was about time I tried again.

Of course, that’s not to say I cycled every day this week. I only cycled on Wednesday, when I thought the workload would be manageable enough that I wouldn’t be left too exhausted to cycle home. Fortunately, the weather was also quite mild that day, so it seemed like the best opportunity.

Continue reading

hold your breath

A few years ago, I drafted a blog post about how I sometimes hold my breath when I walk past bins or smokers or people who, for one reason or another, look like they might smell. I never finished writing this post, and never published it because I thought it was too weird. 

(But I don’t mean to be judgemental. Sometimes it’s obvious that someone has just been to the gym, or maybe I’m out running, and there are other sweaty people out running. And it’s not always body odour — sometimes people who exercise wear too much deodorant.)

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine shared an article that detailed the findings of a Belgian study on the kinetics of exhaled air/vapour during exercise. Specifically, the study looked at walking, running and cycling; and the aim was to determine whether or not it was safe to walk/run/cycle behind or beside someone, with a view to minimising transmission of airborne viruses.

As it turns out, you probably want to stay at least five metres away from other runners, and stay further away from other cyclists, if that is your exercise of choice. 

Recently, I’ve noticed that I hold my breath more and more when I walk past people — perfectly normal-looking people with no suggestion of body odour or excessive fragrance usage, and not even a cigarette in hand.

The other day, I happened to walk past a man in the street, and he turned his face away from me as we passed each other. Perhaps it was just a coincidence, and perhaps he happened to see something interesting across the road, but maybe he was holding his breath too.

Who’s the weird one now, hey?

when violence is the answer

It’s been over three years since I started going to boxing classes, but I don’t think I’ve ever written extensively about it. I’m not sure how this escaped my attention, but it’s probably because I don’t actually go very often (this year I’ve only gone once every one to two months).

But I went to a boxing class on Friday, and afterwards I was thinking about how the instructor ran the class, and thinking about my other experiences with boxing, and I talked to friends about the exercises they do… and then I felt a need to write about it all, so here we are. Continue reading

potatoes, cold mornings and bridges

We’re approaching the final stretch of my month of haiku now, and I’m feeling like I could actually continue this beyond July. Imagine how many haiku I could write in all the life ahead of me?

What I’ve started to worry about, however, is that I’m going to repeat certain themes, lines or phrases from one haiku to another. I actually pondered this back on July 11th, and wrote this piece:

How many haiku,
Already written, and still…
Many more waiting

Is it possible to exhaust all possible compositions of these three-line poems? With such finite syllables, surely you could only do so much? Continue reading

from chin-ups to chilli

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about health and fitness goals in which I said I wanted to teach myself to do chin-ups. As we’re approaching the halfway mark for the year, I’m glad to announce that I’ve now managed to do five consecutive, unassisted chin-ups. I’m actually surprised at this because my “training” was getting pretty irregular, and by the day that I actually achieved it, I probably hadn’t practised in weeks.

I suppose it’s like a lot of other things in the sense that practising a number of other things (in this case, push-ups, weights, etc) can help achieve the thing that you think you should be doing all the time (i.e. chin-ups).

Full disclaimer: It’s probably more accurate to call them half-chin-ups, since I didn’t extend my arms to their full length before pulling up into the next rep. Is that cheating? Like people who do push-ups on their knees? Not the same? Continue reading

living smarter (?)

When it comes to technology, I’m a late adopter. My first smart phone was the iPhone 3 (second-hand from my aunty), and I had that for about five years before I replaced it. By that time, I think Apple had already released iPhone 6, and I really only upgraded because the screen was becoming less and less sensitive to touch.

As for other technology, I really only have my laptop (and the computer at my parents’ place). I’ve never owned an iPod, and I still listen to a normal radio (albeit one with a digital display). I don’t have a tablet device, fancy digital camera, e-reader, bluetooth speakers, or noise-cancelling headphones (although I have borrowed my sister’s headphones before — they’re great for long flights). And I certainly don’t have one of those smart home things (I don’t even know what they’re called). Continue reading