Right, now I have a long career* as a cyclist, I thought I’d share some of my extensive experience with you, my dear readers, in the view that it just might be useful**. Probably just an insight into what goes on in my brain, probably mostly unique to me, likely irrelevant to the rest of ya, however, there might be a couple (~1.5) of actually useful points.
*Have owned a bike for 5 weeks
**Probably only if you have less than 5 weeks experience on a road bike/a bike on the roads
10 Personal Reflections From a Month on the Road – From Me to You (Mainly Me)
- You will be much colder on a bike than if you were running (is this obvious? Am I an idiot?) – do not underestimate this and dress appropriately, you will only decide erroneously against wearing gloves once.
- Road bikes are called road bikes because they function at their best on the road. The well meaning cycle paths of Hampstead Heath will turn into mud and you will end up pushing/carrying your bike across a field in search of tarmac.
- The first time you make it the 8.5 miles to work on your bike, you will feel smug as arriving at the office. Do not let the fact you’ve still got to do a full days work then make it all the way home again taint this feeling.
- Some car drivers don’t want to give you any room/probably/definitely are trying to hit you yes. Note to self: Be a better driver. Some pedestrians also want to kill you with their haphazard walking out into roads/cycle lanes. Note to self: Be a better pedestrian.
- Gears – apparently important. Figuring out how to get out of your ‘big ring’ before you’re half way up an unexpected hill in Richmond Park probably would have been a good idea. Don’t worry – laps mean you can have another go in a more reasonable gear.
- Speaking of hills, probably stop trying to beat unassuming men who do not know they are in a race with you up hills. You keep doing this. You are not a good enough cyclist to keep up this hobby but this will not stop you trying.
- WIND is the enemy, who knew. The gusts will bring moments of terror, head winds will be draining, and you will spend a lot of time thinking you must have a flat tyre/your brakes must be jammed on to explain why you’re going so slowly. Unfortunately this is just old mother nature causing problems. Does this ever get easier? Remains to be fully elucidated.
- You will turn your data off whilst using Google Maps. You will go slightly the wrong way and Google will then refuse to speak to you the whole way home. You will moan a lot about this and how technology is out to get you before you realise this is because…YOU TURNED YOUR DATA OFF.
- The moment you realise you are able to take your hands off the handlebars and indicate, yes I said indicate (yeh pretty sick bike skillz I know cash me outside Team Sky) you will be INCREDIBLY pleased with yourself and the cars around you probably will be too.
- PADDED SHORTS. YES PADDED SHORTS. Basically get some. Do you want to ride to work on a cushion or not? Yeh I thought so.
- Side note – For that ‘I am the pro I never dreamed of becoming’ feeling, get BIB SHORTS. You will also feel a bit like a wrestler which is exciting. You will parade around in them in the house a lot, and your housemates will care less about your new shorts than you do.
Thus concludes my brain thoughts for the day. Thanks for reading this waffle, your prize is an unrelated picture of Birtie from when we had the abovementioned trip to Hampstead.