Page and word count for the book I am writing about cycling

Cycling Book — The Kilominator

For someone who says on the very first page of his book, The Kilominator, “I have no special knowledge or training in the following areas dealt within this book”, I seem to have a lot to say about cycling. After a year of work, I have written 105,077 word across 364 double-spaced pages.

I finally found exercise that I enjoy. Fitness is secondary to the buzz of simply being part of the clockwork mechanism of piloting a bicycle.

Selfie in window heading into Chatham on my 2nd 200 km ride

In order to give a fair accounting of my journey, I relate more than a few embarrassing instances where I collided with my own lack of fitness over the years. Mine is certainly not the greatest weight loss anyone ever experienced. I haven’t broken any cycling records, but I am an ordinary guy who once accepted that I might spend the rest of my life uncomfortably fat, self-conscious, and not a little tormented by memories of when I was an athlete, and when clothes actually fit on my body — and finally achieved my goal of getting down below the 200 lbs. threshold with my weight.

At my worst, I didn’t surpass 300 lbs., but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Between my alcohol consumption during my 20s, and the wretched evil twin, fast food, that I stuffed into myself to soak up the booze, I landed in the hospital for an eight-day stay in the late 1990s for “lifestyle related injuries.” I’m very lucky I didn’t give myself a heart attack and/or stroke.

I would love to say that I snapped out of it, that I looked at my family, my young sons, my beautiful wife, and had an Ebenezer Scrooge moment where I turned it all around. In fairness, I experienced that many times, but it was never enough to motivate me, to snap me out of my malaise. I got inspired for a few days, cut back to an austere six or seven meals in a day, exhausted and injured myself exercising too hard (as though I could undo all of the damage in one evening), and then fell of the wagon. Hard.

It took the entrance of COVID-19 into our lives to reveal to me that the bicycle was the answer. It wasn’t even to get fit, but simply to occupy myself. As a writer, I am well equipped to spend large swaths of time alone, reading, writing, falling down rabbit holes on YouTube. Even with “time enough at last” there was still so many hours left in the day!

So, I took to the bicycle — moving down empty concession roads and forlorn rural routes. As I wrote in a magazine article in September 2020: “My anxiety is a diamond-tipped drill with a plutonium core fuel cell, capable of piercing the center of the earth, if left unchecked. Kilominating burned up the excess energy.”

And cycling has come to provide a keel and a compass for my daily life. Right now, it’s January, and if I were heartier, I would go out in the 14° Fahrenheit weather, but alas, I ride on my bicycle trainer inside my house. Since October, I have covered almost 3,000 km — I’ll surpass that mark on tomorrow morning’s ride, in fact.

So, after 30,000 km cycle since May 2020, I have no wisdom to impart. As I write in my query letter to publishers: “I am not one of the slick, spandexed cyclists practicing his art in pelotons. I am a lone, obsessed hobbyist. Looking back at the beginning of the pandemic, I observe in my manuscript: the ‘cycle-shaped syringe would addict me and deliver me in ways I could not imagine.’

“I’m not a motivator, personal trainer, physician, or philosopher. I am a kilominator: one who accumulates kilometers.”

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Matthew St. Amand

Matthew St. Amand

Husband, father, amateur ghost hunter, online-ordained minister and writer. Learn more (but not much more) at www.mattst.biz