I used to cycle EVERYWHERE. In my early teens my trusted Raleigh Racer took me to see friends, boyfriends, movies and shops. But then marriage, kids, cars and jobs happened, the weight piled on, and my poor old bike got left behind to rot. Mum got fed up of having to stack stuff around it, and after being hoarded in my shed for a couple of years, I eventually gave in and sent it for recycling.
Living with a cycling addict is a bit of a nightmare, everything revolves around cycling, even trips away with the kids, (it even infected our honeymoon!) and I have to admit that there were times when I resented it appearing to be more important than our relationship. This year I finally relented and gave in to the annual pleas of hiring cycles as a family. “It’ll be so much fun mum!” filled me with dread, the last time I’d attempted to cycle I’d got out of puff at the sight of a slight incline and given up before even attempting it. But I was about to discover that a lot of it is down to the bike you cycle.
My racer hadn’t been ridden for over 15 years, and apart from one attempt on a really heavy mountain bike on a long forgotten family trip, the only other bike I’d tried to ride was the Chopper my husband had treated me to because I’m into vintage things and had always wanted one. Yeah, they’re brilliant if you’re a child full of boundless energy (my 12 year old daughter now rides it to school, much to the delight of her teachers) but try cycling up a hill on one, the 3 gears just don’t seem to help.
So, here we were, outside a vintage cycle hire shop in the back streets of Hastings Old Town looking at cycles that would have a basket attached big enough to accommodate a large miniature dachshund. I was dreading it. All four kids were slim, healthy and energetic, Monkeyboy practically cycled for a living, and the last time I’d given another creature a lift on a bike was when I had spokey-dokeys on my wheels! (I’m pretty sure the creature was a nice light ladybird as well…..)But there was no going back now. Having secured the dog in said basket, I took my first tentative push towards the coastline.
Cycling is one of those exercises that you can adapt to suit you, I’d forgotten how easy it can be to gain speed and momentum at a fairly relaxed pace. The cycle (a gleaming retro bike in the style of a Pashley) was comfortable, and it surprised me how easy I found it to keep up with the younger ones of the group. As much as I love my Chopper, and the kudos of having a vintage bike, for a nearly 40 year old woman I have decided ease and comfort is key! I thoroughly enjoyed the relatively short time I spent on two wheels, the wind in my hair, and the feeling of accomplishment at having sailed along a promenade with ease. My children took a while to get over the novelty of having mum joining in, but then we all rejoiced in the sights and sounds of the coastline together.
And now I have plans…… I’m overweight, a GP nurse by trade, and I spend a lot of my time advising my patients on healthy lifestyles and weight loss. I’ve managed to give up smoking, so now I need to get fit, and what better way to do it than on a bike? Now all I’ve got to do is find something on two wheels that suits, so I’m off to nag the hubby into buying me something nice………