Exercise and sport comes in many different formats. Some love it, even becoming addicted to it, whilst others despise it and will do absolutely anything not to get involved. Many tolerate and accept it as necessary to maintaining a healthy body whereas for others it becomes a major part of their social life, as in the case of participatory team sports.
With all the choices of exercise activities out there which is the best one for you? I fully understand the need and appeal of a gym, and how they suit a large variety of individuals needs. For me though exercise is about having fun, which normally means taking my mountain bike out into the bush to experience this beautiful country of ours. Coffee and cake afterwards with my bike friends is of course a necessity.
The bicycle has come along way since it’s introduction in the early 19th century. Coveted by many a child it has also become the prized possession of many adults, either as a cheap and reliable form of transport, or as an enjoyable form of exercise to assist in removing those extra calories accumulated through too many servings of pie and chips.
There are numerous types of bike design from hybrids, cyclo-cross and choppers to the more conventional road, off-road and BMX. Add to this a huge diversity in brands, models, components, accessories, tyre type and clothing and it is easy to see why buying a bike can become more than a little confusing.
BMX – These small framed bikes are used on specially designed dirt tracks for racing and stunt riding. It’s a great bike sport for children as it allows them to develop their bike skills whilst staying away from our not-so-safe roads. From four years old upwards BMX is a great way for families to have fun on bikes in a safe environment. However it should be said that as skills and tricks develop, so does the frequency of injury.
Mountain Bike (MTB) – Think solid, sturdy, fat knobbly tyres, suspension, dirt, mud and lots of fun. These bikes take you off the tarmac onto footpaths, jeep tracks and dirt roads. Although free from the dangers of traffic you will need to negotiate a vast variety of obstacles from washed away footpaths and seasonal river crossings to stray chickens and goats. These off road bikes have recently experienced a major change in tyre size. You can now buy a 26, 27.5 or 29 (wheel diameter in inches) bike. Regardless of which size you choose, or your shop advises you to buy, you will undoubtedly have lots of fun with like-minded people far from the maddening crowds.
Road bike – Ridden in the Tour de France these lightweight, slick bikes with skinny tyres,drop handlebars and minimal accessories are a great way to zip along tarmac roads. They are used for road racing, triathlons and time trials.
There are a variety of road and mountain bike groups and clubs throughout Zimbabwe. Races and events take place around the country ranging from one to five days. Although road bike events are limited to tarmac roads MTBs events take part in a variety of beautiful countryside as well as Hwange, Matopos, Victoria Falls and Nyanga National parks, to name but a few.
The best and most efficient way to loose weight is to do something you enjoy. Gone are the days when I used to dance into the wee hours of the morning three times a week whilst at Uni. Now I’m up not much after the time I used to go to bed to pedal my way to fitness, happiness, lasting friendships, good strong coffee and a nice big piece of decadent cake.
Harare – 00 263 4 332951
Vanessa – 00 263 772 396 633
47 Quorn Avenue, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe