Jogging and Cycling in Towns and Villages Respectively

Having taken up jogging in Bulgaria over the last month, there are many reasons behind this. Before starting can I mention that normally I am an avid cyclist, if ever a few kilograms wanted to be lost from a fit, but aging man, a couple of weeks cycling over long distances usually did the job. I just love cycling, even in mid-winter in sub-zero temperatures (see 365 Bulgarian Adventures.) So why jog instead of cycle?

During the week I am in Yambol and the many cyclists that wheel and hobble along the cobblestone street is a refreshing sight. Every cycle I see my mind says 'one less car', but the cycling is down more to cost than environmental conscience. Most of the bicycles I see are not roadworthy and those that are ride the wrong way up roads, on pavements and carry vast amounts of luggage making the bicycle too unstable to ride so it is pushed. The average speed limit to cyclists in Yambol is just generally just slightly faster than walking pace. If yo add the horrendous potholes that have really got worse and worse this winter as each day goes by, going any faster, without brakes on their bikes, makes absolute sense.(see Roma Riders)

With all this in mind, my bikes is sitting in the garage as my style of cycling is very different from Bulgarian cycling. First and foremost I do it for pleasure and health, I don't think this aspect is even consider for one moment by most Bulgarians. Riding a bike is done only because a car can't be afforded! I cycle like I am on a time trial most of the time, this can't be done in Yambol, nowadays there is too much traffic, too many bad roads making it far too dangerous to travel at speed in such environments. If I have a hybrid mountain bike it would be fine but I have a light and fast touring bike designed for speed on good roads, I can't do that here. I have another bike, a pure road bike in Skalitsa as the road there are excellent for touring and road riding, this is where my cycling usually takes place.

So, the jogging has taken over form cycling in Yambol. I once competed the London Marathon a long time ago, but that is ancient history now as I tramp the back roads of Yambol. Even on the road it is like a cross country event with the torn and uneven road surfaces. I think I must be the only person in Yambol who goes out jogging. I have never seen anyone jogging here since I been here, even in the warmer months. Bulgarian drivers just don't know how to react when passing a jogger, they always pause as they are not sure whether to give me a wide berth or run me over - they certainly have been close to that. Yet if I was on a bike they would give the greatest respect when passing.

Dogs haven't a clue what to do when I pass them. The ones that are chained up bark to the hilt, well that's what they are there for. The wild, free dogs bark when I approach but that stops suddenly when I pass, they also have not seen anything like this going on. It's almost if they are saying that it's their job to run on Yambol roads not mine!

Loosing weight is my prime objective here, plus I've had a few warning signs from my heart telling me to work it a bit more. Also in view of reading Malcolm and Ciejay's Blog, it probably makes me even more determined to keep it up.

Galia did a half marathon here in Yambol quite a few years ago, it was a one off event for charity so she tells me. Pity it's not an annual event, but then jogging is not at all a Bulgarian thing!