A bike story from seafarer John Davidson
I first went to sea 35 years ago, first serving in the Royal Navy and currently 18 years with Maersk Supply Service.
It was always a passion for me from a young age getting out of the house and exploring. So, a bicycle was the best option for seeing new places in my view. But as you get older things change, and so does health. We might not seem as active as we were in our teens and certainly being at sea can take its toll. Sometimes we can adapt to life's pace. Others don't seem to cope too well.
I've seen many changes over the years being at sea. Some are good; some are not so good. Pressure at work and at home. We take it for granted that this is the norm and slowly but surely, we find ourselves alleviating those pressures with comfort foods and binge-watching TV. I was overweight and smoking. I'd seen so many friends and CO-workers who had chosen a lifestyle no really conducive to a healthy way of living, and it didn't end well. And that's what drove me to change. Nobody was going to do it for me. I bought a cheap bike and started out early mornings be it rain or shine with short sessions and gradually built up my fitness level and increased distance over a period of time. Increasing stamina and decreasing my BMI. Then started using the gym onboard the ship. Gradually my weight came down. Of course, there also has to be a balanced diet. It goes hand in hand.
It has given me a renewed sense of purpose. Making my choices about my health, be it aboard my ship or at home.
I can't go back to the old ways because cycling has become a passion for me. As my wife would testify, she has had to endure the journey with me. I have my own road bike here in San Diego where the MAERSK LAUNCHER is currently working. And we recently bought two more bicycles for crew use, so there are positives on all sides. Like seeing scenery that you would normally miss driving in a car, the ability to tackle a hill climb in the Canaries or be it a simple bicycle ride with family and friends. It brings in its own a sense of achievement and enjoyment. The benefits of a healthy life at sea does have its merits. You become more focused and engage with your shipmates more. I find I'm sleeping better, and I actually feel great.
Where will my journey take me who knows, but it sure is fun.