Wednesday, 30 May 2012

If you can't beat them, join them?

In which our heroine starts to consider a bike to call her very own...

Again, this has been a long time coming.  I've always been easily led, so I suppose it was inevitable that I would eventually start to think about whether I too should consider joining the dark side and getting my bottom on a bike.

The cyclist is being very encouraging, despite this being 'his thing'; I'm pretty sure he doesn't need to worry about me gatecrashing his position as the racer in the family - and I suspect his motives are largely driven by the fact that he wants to get involved in the bike selection process.

But if I were to take the plunge, it would not mean that for us cycling would become a couple-y pursuit.  Please forget any romantic notions you might have of those 'advert style' rides, where laughing couples in casually stylish and coordinated outfits cycle down a leafy lane simpering at each other without a care in the world.  Instead, cast your memory back to the dark place of that terrible Sunday.  You know the one; shortly after your 17th birthday, clutching your Provisional Driving License in your sweaty little hand and heading to the supermarket carpark with your silent and grey faced Dad in his Cavalier.  Remember the grinding of gears?  The yelling?  The silence? The hot hot tears of frustration?  From all involved?  THAT is what a bike ride with my cyclist would be like.  I can't risk that, I have kids to think about.  Strictly Riding Solo and no mistake.

Now then, to bike or not to bike; what does this decision ultimately boil down to?  I've made a handy list of the pros and cons currently occupying my mind -

1) Thighs.
So I could say something far more worthy in praise of one of the many well-documented benefits of cycling, like 'General Health and Fitness' or 'Increased Life Expectancy', 'Setting a Good Example to the Kids' or 'Reducing Stress', but I'm afraid it would be a big fat bollocky lie.  And after all, this is my blog - what's the point of pretending to be something I'm not?  For me, it's all about the thighs.  And glutes.  Toned tummy - how I've missed you.  Muffin top, be gone.  See ya, bingo wings! Etc.  In my mind, this is how it works: 2 spins round the block = bum and legs like Gisele Bundchen (maybe 3, I'm not expecting miracles).

2) Cake.
My research has scientifically proven that cyclists are obsessed with cake.  And I like a slice* of Victoria sponge or caramel shortbread as much as the next person. Having seen my cyclist's Garmin uploads I would have to concur that cycling does seem to rather efficiently burn those cheeky little calories that are starting to gang up on me, and even leave a bit of space for some additional ones to be thrown into the mix pretty much guilt-free.

*4 slices.  And a cup of tea.  And a tube of Smarties to wash it down.

3) Nice People.
All the cycling people I have met have been nice.  Without exception.  I'm sure there's some knobbers out there, but I've yet to encounter them personally.  And one of the main things they all have in common is that they want you to give cycling a try, and they want you to enjoy it too, especially if you're a girl.

4) Loving it.
People are always going on about riding their bikes.  Rides they've been on, rides they're going on, weather and scenery and cakes and friends and foam rollers (?).  It all sounds pretty, well, FUN.

1) It looks like bloody hard work.
Pretty self explanatory really.

2) The outfits.
I have no problem with the principle of the kit, I'm just not 100% confident I can carry off head to toe skintight lycra with a cushion sewn in the bum (unlike the cyclist, who actually makes that shit look hot).  Not only would I look like Mrs Sausagelegs in them, those shorts (which I've been told are absolutely essential from a bike comfort point of view) look like a short cut to WedgieTown from where I'm sitting.  I suspect people will point.  And laugh.  But will I be speeding past them too damn fast to care? Laters Dickheeeeeeeeeeads!

Probably not.  At least not right away.  But one day I might, and that would be sweeeeeeet.

3) It looks like bloody hard work.
Pretty self explanatory really.

4) Skill.
Contrary to popular belief I can ride a bike.  That is not to say I have any bike handling skill whatsoever.  In fact, I think it would probably be reasonably accurate to say I have all the natural bike riding ability of a duck.  A slightly chubby and self-conscious duck, whose shorts have gone up its bum.  I would be a Chopper and/or Whopper, and I'm not sure I can handle that.  Also, there is a very strong possibility that I would get to a set of traffic lights, not be able to unclip my foot and go slowly over sideways like Del Boy playing it cool at the bar.  Which would be hilarious if you are the twat in the Audi watching, but I expect I'd cry.  Also, Im a scaredy cat.  I am scared of falling off the bike.  I am scared of cars and traffic - both the possibility of them squishing me and of nasty men leaning out of the window and shouting mean stuff at me.

So what to do?  I suspect the key is not to get too carried away.  Do I really need Di2 on my first ever bike?  A carbon aero frame?  Probably not - what's good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander.  IF I do decide to lycra up and get my bum on two wheels I'll need to match my bike to my abilities.  And thus make sure I get one with a bell and stabilisers.


  1. Go on go on! You know you want to! I'm hooked! Did a Del boy style fall right in front of a cycling club as I was trying to stop them for a chat. My friend still laughs at the memory!

  2. If you are going to become a cyclist then you need to be aware of "The Rules ". In particular Rule #12 ( and possibly also Rule #11 ) applies to you at this time.

  3. I do hereby solemnly swear to abide by The Rules, apart from the ones about 5 o'clock shadows and macchiatos. And I might need reminding of Rule 5 from time to time.

  4. Do it! I was a 'cycling widow' until I was persuaded to join 'the club' and I've not looked back. My 'cyclist' is usually pretty patient with me, and last year we had a holiday to the Alps, AND I ONLY CRIED TWICE! I've also recently joined my local triathlon club, to combine my other two loves of running and swimming (especially swimming as it is the one thing I can do better than 'him'!). Good luck with it!