Friday, January 28, 2011

The Ride Journal - Bonk!

The Ride Journal - Bonk!

A piece I did a month or two back for the wonderful cycling journal The Ride, created by the brothers Diprose and launched last night in London at Look Mum No Hands!

Sadly, due to work commitments and a doggedly persistant chesty cough, I wasn't able to make it along. Damn!

This was for a piece about what cyclists term the 'bonk', a condition caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, which manifests itself by precipitous fatigue and loss of energy. Milder instances can be remedied by brief rest and the ingestion of food or drinks containing carbohydrates. The condition can usually be avoided by ensuring that glycogen levels are high when the exercise begins, maintaining glycogen levels during exercise by eating or drinking carbohydrate-rich substances, or by reducing exercise intensity.

The term "bonk" for cycling fatigue is presumably derived from the original meaning "to hit", and dates back at least half a century. A recent DVD issued by the British Transport Films Collection contains several old films, one of which entitled "Cyclists Special", a colour film produced in 1955, tells the story of a party of cyclists touring the English countryside. At one point they stop for refreshments and the film's commentator states that if they didn't rest and eat they would get "the bonk".

Here, the author is helped along his way not by rest or an energy bar, but by the heartening rasp of his cycling companion breaking wind as he overtakes!

The Ride is available to order online or from many good cycle shops. It was very favourably reviewed in yesterday's Independent newspaper!

No comments: