Adele Mitchell our resident mountain biking beauty expert, has turned to tarmac, documenting her experience of switching to road cycling.
This month, Adele on her Specialized Ruby road bike, turns model for the morning – and experiences an ‘unusual’ car incident.
With a few more lovely miles under my road cycling belt and the sun shining, it seemed like a good time for a few ‘riding my Ruby’ pictures.
My other half is a photographer and we chose a stunning location at a nearby pond but, as we were about to head off, he had to take a phone call so we agreed that I would start cycling and he would catch me up.
Off I sped along the country lanes, feeling rather smug about how easy my legs were finding the hill climbs and very relieved that the roads were quiet. I’m a mountain biker at heart and faced with a busy row of traffic or a sheer drop off, I’d take the drop off every time.
Unfortunately the calm was shattered when a car suddenly and inexplicably slowed behind me. The road was clear and wide enough for over taking so, determined not to be forced into the verge, I rode on and held my position, only now as the vehicle got even closer, I could hear someone shouting. While I knew I’d done nothing wrong I began to fear that I had become the victim of some crazed anti-cyclist road rage scenario. The car was now drawing up alongside me, too close for comfort, like one of those support vehicles you see on the Tour de France – only I wasn’t expecting a spot of on-the-go lunch.
It was at this point I glanced over and thought ‘Hang on a minute – I’ve got a car like that’. I then spotted my husband, one hand on the steering wheel the other waving furiously to catch my attention (not necessary, believe me) “It’s only me! I’ll see you at the pond!” he yelled, before speeding up and heading down the lane without a care in the world. So, I had successfully avoided being squashed by my husband in my own car – and proved to myself that I can ride a road bike in a narrow space in the process.
I arrived at our location, a strip of lovely flat road at the bottom of a valley with tight, narrow corners at either end. With the words ‘Just do that again’ echoing in my ears I cycled past the camera with as much style as I could muster, turned at the bend and rode back again. And again. And again – I think we safely say that my tight turn skills improved by about 2000%.
Interestingly, the more shots we did – climbs, turns, descents over and over again – the more my concentration switched from riding the bike to making sure we got the picture. Suddenly I achieved that magic moment when I felt the bike and I were one and that I could have ridden all day long. And it is a very nice feeling indeed.
Headline photo by photo Paul Mitchell.