In which the Reluctant Cyclist experiences some success
To ‘celebrate’ Bike Week 2013 – and to stop my other half being grumpy about having transported a tandem all the way from London to sit in my garage doing nothing – I joined us up for a Sky Ride around the area where I was born in Suffolk.
Having signed up for a ride that declared it would be ‘steady’ and a do-able 7-10 mph, we duly turned up at 10am on the Sunday morning – him kitted out in lycra, specialist sunglasses and clippy shoes, and me in jeans and Converse.
As the only other riders there so far had been leaders (clips and lycra) I was very pleased to see another couple of casually dressed riders turn up, to swell the ranks of the non-professionals. By the time we set off it was a 4:3 lycra to non-lycra ratio, and a good mix of men and women.
We set off up a hill (who plans these things?) but due to the tandem’s large selection of gears, it wasn’t too much for me and we quickly headed off out of the town into the countryside of my childhood.
I’m not sure if clouds are linked directly to pedals, but it certainly seemed to be so, as the rain came down every time we started and stopped when we stopped too. I was very glad of my Bern peaked helmet to keep the rain mostly off my glasses, and decided to add mini-windscreen wipers to the list of comforts I hope to soon be designed for bike riders (along with a dashboard so I can have my various phones available, a sofa-style cushioned seat, wind protector and climate control – oh wait, that makes it a car!).
If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then the difference in the speed of the planetary orbits would explain why my other half wanted to go quite so much faster than I did. I had rather assumed that the Sky Ride Leader (cunningly decked out in fluorescent yellow) should be at the front and do the leading, but my boyfriend seemed intent on being Wiggins to her Froome and took the lead at every opportunity, despite not being in possession of the map, the Garmin or the fluoro top. I had to get used to shouts of ‘left at the end of the hill’ as we whizzed past the people who knew where we were going, to satisfy his need for speed.
I can’t exactly claim to have cycled up hill and down dale, this being Suffolk, but there were definitely some slower uppy bits and some faster downy bits which my other half relished and I discovered I could do with my eyes closed – literally.
He was also quite useful for leaning on as the handlebars on his tandem are set up for someone who likes to ride in a horizontal fashion, rather than my preferred vertical stance. Having insisted he changed the razor sharp seat for my comfy big bum saddle, I am happy to report that apart from a little numbness from lack of movement, I suffered none of the bottom related trauma of my previous rides.
Resolved saddle comfort issues combined with the relative ease of cycling as a twosome contributed to the rash decision to sign us up for the London to Cambridge bike ride on the tandem. As I’ve only cycled about 20km before, I will need to quintuple this to get all the way along the 100km ride.
I guess it’s time I ought to actually put some sort of training in or our trip will become the inaugural London to Cambridge Nightride.