Reluctant Cyclist

Adventures of a reluctant cyclist, part one

Gently cajoled into returning to cycling, The Reluctant Cyclist will be recounting her adventures and misadventures over the next few months.

In which I completely fail to get on a bike

The Reluctant Cyclists’ dream.

I can ride a bike. I am sure of this, though I was also sure I could swim and only found out the fallacy of that idea when I entered a pool as an adult for the first time since I was at primary school, and promptly sunk.

I am sure I can ride a bike, though. I have a small silver badge somewhere to prove that I am proficient at cycling. However, although I live in the city of bikes (Cambridge) and own a bike (purple), it has moved houses more times than it has been ridden. I would class myself as a rider, but my rides have four legs and are prone to stop and eat grass unexpectedly.

I remembered recently while driving (warm, covered, Radio 4, what’s not to like?) in the countryside, that I used to cycle along the same road twice daily, to a colleague’s house in the next village from where I was driven the 20 miles to work.

I must have ridden a good 6 miles a day without thinking about it, but now, over a decade later, I can barely conceive of cycling from my house into the centre of town. This, even though parking in Cambridge out-prices London and you have to watch out for tourists on bikes, usually going the wrong down one-way streets. Even this has not made me clean the cobwebs off my bike (don’t know what type, I just remember that it’s purple) and take up the pedals again.

Recently, though, I have developed a need to ride a bicycle. Not for my own good, you understand, but to pay back a bike-maniac friend who came horse-riding with me. So I agreed to go bike-riding as payback. This was two months ago. Apparently my bike is barely capable of the task of riding, despite its delightful colour.

I rather assumed that if it had handles, a seat and two wheels that it would be up to it, but apparently my riding experience will be impaired if I ride a bike of the age and disposition of my current steed, so I awaited the loan bike with trepidation, if not quite downright fear at what I would be expected to achieve on quite such a honed and toned mechanical marvel. And so the chosen day approached.

Not being aware that ‘not wearing a helmet’ was an option as an adult, I purchased the cheapest one which didn’t make me look too much like a tit and awaited my first excursion. I considered the possibility of Lycra but the consideration didn’t last very long, thank goodness, for the good of everyone concerned. But I felt ready – really, how much hassle could it be?

And then it snowed.

No one can be expected to go riding in the snow, especially not a beginner, so I remain virgin territory, in cycling terms (discounting the folly of youth, which I’m sure we all do).


The reluctant cyclist

Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.