Archive for October, 2008

heart_silver_bkI’ve fallen in love. Yes. Its true.  Its been a slow process but its finally happened. I tell everyone about it until they are fed up with me so another reason to blog.  All throughout the week I look forward to my Saturday afternoons; the wind on my face, my lungs filling up with (fresh?) air that makes my heart pump quicker and so my breath exudes in a rapid fashion promoting a warmness throughout my whole body, sweating yet glowing,  becoming  increasingly excited and laughing with a grin that does not  diminish with exertion.  Yes that’s me on a Saturday afernoon learning to ride a bike. I haven’t missed one week yet and guess what. I passed Level 1 of the Bikeability Course, got some badges and a certificate!

What did I have to do?  Show how well I could control the bike, cycle in a circle whilst the instructor observes and calls out instructions…pedal ready, starting, emergency stopping, straight lines, signalling, looking behind (how many fingers), u turns and so on.  It was all very relaxed and informal.  I passed.  Hooray.  I am so happy today!  Roll on next week!

The Great Pretender!


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instructorsI don’t particularly like to wear helmets as I have thick hair, they’re not particularly fashionable and I certainly don’t like to wear any lycra stuff either.

So the thought of donning all that cycling gear is definitely not for me.  The instructors gently mock the different boots that I’ve been wearing every week. But when I start to ride normally,  that’s what I’ll be wearing, I told them. 

Just my normal clothes. The contrast between myself and another learner is vast.  Starting off just like me, she now she arrives in full cycling gear from head to toe.  She’s another full convert. Whereas I still like to wear my normal clothes.  She does look amazing, though!  So we went after the lesson she took me to the cheap store Lidls where I brought lycra thermals with padding in all the right places to wear under my normal clothes as it was getting colder.

Looking for on  the Whycycle website section ‘Safety and Security’.  I learned it is not legal to wear a helmet but up to the individual’s discretion.

Brake.org seems to advocate children wearing helmets by law and preferably adults as well.  This website cites success in other countries.

I found this great website and I couldn’t stop reading because it seems to be aimed just at me! A beginner.  Anyway Cyclinginfo.co.uk states in Reasons to Wear a Cycle Helmet that:-

It is difficult to know how many lives would be saved from compulsory helmet wearing. It would probably be very small, because the number of cycling deaths resulting from head injuries is quite small. Also there is no guarantee that wearing a helmet would prevent all head injuries.

This is the view of my instructors who are,  of course, required to wear helmets for insurance purposes of the Bikeability course but don’t wear it when not training.

So to helmet or not to helmet? Haven’t mind up my mind. Have to wear it whilst training but not sure about when I’m competent. What about you? Do you wear a helmet?  Take the poll.    Anyway I just love cycling.

Love Cycling! Love It!

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Ride in a straight line and signal right. How difficult was that!  Almost impossible.women-cyclingjpeg Everytime I took my hand off, the bike went in another direction!  Arrrrgh! No. No. Get ready to turn right. Look behind, pedal. Look again, pedal. Signal and turn the bike and look again whilst signalling! OMG! Good job we’re on a pedestrianised area.

Practising more skills, U-turns and figure 8s as well as signalling and riding straight and changing gears. Which gear for what? Oh dear!  Wooooahhh! Too much to remember. 

I could just imagine those car drivers shouting out of their windows “Oi, get your arms out” or “get off the road” or  ‘whadda think yer doing’  and other such remarks.  I just don’t want to be the victim of road rage! Neither do I want to hold up the traffic or fail to signal properly!  That’s why car drivers get annoyed, my instructors told me. Cyclists fail to indicate their intentions clearly.  Some cyclists are not assertive enough.  Mmmmm. Ok then!

Just looking at those instructors, with all the right clothing gear that cost a fortune, confidently twisting and turning, standing up on the bike!  They make it look so easy. I think they live, eat and breath cycling. They think of nothing of doing hundreds of miles on a bike. Not that I want to race, mind you, just cycle proficiently and confidently. Will I ever do it properly, I wonder!  Maybe next  lesson.

To Helmet Or Not To Helmet

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 bike-riding-near-water11This Saturday, I felt my legs ache during a long ride along the Thames Cycle paths, especially my thighs.  Good though. I’m getting a thigh workout.  Then the cycling got the better of me. My legs got tired. Pedal slower the instructors said. Change gears.   What a serious lack of stamina I have, I thought. Goodness me!  Actually it wasn’t even that long a ride. Less than 2 miles. Shame! I really need to do something about my fitness.  Anyway, its not that surprising as I can hardly run for a bus (not that I do cos I drive) but you get the drift.   

Between spurts of normal and then slow pedalling, I took in the view for the first time, the peacefulness and stillness of it all.  The instructors chatted amongst themselves and left me to enjoy the ride. Cycling along on the smooth paved cycle path I could see the O2, Canary Wharf, the ferry and other landmarks. This stretch of the Thames was extremely quiet and still, a vast contrast between the dual carriageway just metres beyond the fancy riverside flats to my right and the Thames to my left where only the birds broke the stillness. It was such fun!

Trying consistently to cycle in a straight line still sort of eluded me especially as we encounted a headwind, as Jake called it but I cycled behind him. I enjoyed  the ride tremendously. Can’t wait for next week!  I hope I’m getting fitter!

Road Rage?

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