In a moment of what can only be described as ‘illuminated thought’ or perhaps ‘over-excitedness’ I decided to sign up to cycle the London-Brighton in June, and then, in the flow of things also signed up to the London FreeCycle in July. I had 2months to train but first I needed to buy a bike….my old dutch bike with the cute wicker basket that is rusting outside my mums backyard I somehow don’t think would be that practical (even if it was still ridable).
So after signing up, I duely procrastinate for about a month, attempt to cycle for more than 5mins on the watt bike at the gym without wanting to cry, then I go to Halfords.
So they were amazing, they explain why my first (and cheapest) choice of bike is maybe not the best due to the position of the gears which would make changing them when my hands were on the lower handle bars pretty difficult, and as my mind runs away with images of myself caring down a steep hill in first gear I decide to go with their advice.
The bikes are, well, very different from my old dutch bike…the handle bars are as high as the saddle (or as low in my case) and the gears and breaks are in the same place (although for braking you squeeze and for gear changing flick left/right depending on which side of the handle bar they are). They figure out the size of my frame and when I answer ‘today’ to the sales assistance in the bike department to the question “when do you want it for” I think they guessed I was a complete amateur. He explained to me they needed to order it in then assemble it, “unless I wanted to assemble it myself?”. Yeah …so erm no – I could wait as long as it takes – just please do it for me!
A week later I get a call…it was ready for collection! In the end I went for the Intuition Lambda Womens Bike – its a good solid bike, which …and, I hate to be girly, but I absolutely loved that it came in pink and black!!
If anyone heard a variety of strange clicks, cracks and thuds around Viginia Water last week accompanied by yelps of joy and sometimes, a little cursing (under my breath of course) then please forgive me – it was my first time on my bike. Being a little over excited I decided to start without the help of one of my slightly more experienced friends, and decipher the gears, and riding on the far thinner wheels, alone.
All in all, 7rides later of about 16km each, and the purchase of a pair of padded shorts it has actually become an enjoyable experience!
I am aiming to keep training similar to when I did the half marathon a few years ago – with a ride a day then longer rides on saturday or sunday progresisvely increasing the distance on the longer rides to get my muscles (and my mind!) used to it!
Although I still can’t lift my hands off the handlebars to signal or stand-up to cycle up hills without wobbling super precariously…it is a very fun work in progress!