Observing life: I cycle between 35 and 60 kilometres everyday - at my desk

I have become part of the smug new movement of desk cyclists – and it’s a glorious thing. I’m pedalling as I type this.

I’m not just a professional writer these days, I’m a professional cyclist. On an average day I will pedal anything between 35 and 60 kilometres.

My only complaint is that the scenery is nothing to write home about. This is because I am seated at my desk the whole time.

That’s right, I have become part of the smug new movement of desk cyclists – and it’s a glorious thing.

I’m pedalling as I type this and was initially jolted into action by the media buzz about the risk of the “sitting disease” and “sitting being the new smoking”.

I am all-too familiar with the tingly limbs and back twinges associated with a predominantly desk-bound job, so I set out on the near-Herculean task of obtaining a desk bike.

I quickly discovered that they are almost impossible to find in the UAE, with none of the sporting-goods retailers seeming to stock them. So the only options are to import one from abroad – at great cost – or, if you are lucky, unearth one for sale locally on a preloved goods listing site.

These nifty pieces of equipment aren’t cheap – expect to pay between Dh500 and Dh900 for a decent brand.

Once you have made the investment, however, you can get pedalling immediately as there is nothing to assemble. The metre-long bicycle has two pedals, an adjustable resistance control and a digital display that tells you how far and far you have travelled and your average speed. As an added bonus for those wanting to tone up, boost metabolism or drop some pounds, the machine will also calculate how many calories you have burnt during each session.

What surprised me the most was how easy I’ve found it to keep using the device day after day – it’s highly addictive. The idea of cycling for hours at a time in the gym leaves me cold but my office workouts fly by – it must be the distraction of work.

The other advantage is that the device is incredibly discreet. It is silent as a mouse and there’s no head bobbing or banging of knees on the desk to give the game away. This is a stealth bicycle.

That said, while a few hours pedalling never fails to salve my guilt about missing a gym session or cardio class, my mini bike does have one disadvantage.

I have become so accustomed to using it during the day, I now crave one in other places I have to spend long periods of time sitting. I want a desk cycle to use while watching television, on long-haul flights, and while reading a book on the balcony. In short, I need a personalised fleet of desk bikes for my daily Tour de Dubai.

That aside, I’ve no complaints and feel myself wondering what might be next? A standing desk, a Swiss ball chair – finally, they now come with arms and a backrest – or perhaps a treadmill workstation. I’m open to all options, as long as Lycra shorts and bicycle clips play no part in my quest for gold at the 2016 Desk Olympics.

rduane@thenational.ae