Milestones

12 Jul 2011

Another wee cycling update. It’s now been 6 months since I claimed that I wasn’t interested in being sporty, owning a Road-only bike (I wanted to ride something ‘chap’ and retro), and that I would never touch Lycra with a bargepole, let alone my body.

All that’s changed – I’m now riding a proper road bike (that I’m trying to make as modern as possible), in lycra and wearing SPD shoes. What a difference it all makes though! After a lot of discussion on Twitter on normal shorts vs bib shorts, I got a pair of the former from Shutt Velo Rapide. which are really comfy and no comparison to when I was trying to ride in jeans. I’m realising the advantage of bibs though, as I get do get a cold patch on my back.

SPDs were another big step, but didn’t take as long to get used to as I thought they would and make the difference that everyone has been telling me they do. After a couple of falls on the grass outside I soon got the nack, I got used to getting my feet in and out without looking down. I couldn’t ride any distance without them now – and certainly wouldn’t want to tackle any hills.

Another milestone I passed tonight was my first ride – with someone else. I was very nervous, almost like a first date nervous. Would I hold them up? Would I be a panting wheezy lump at the back? Would I fall over, forgetting to twist my foot out of the SPDs? Actually, I was fine – a little out of breath, but as much because I was trying to chat at the same time.

The advantages of riding with others are well documented, but the biggest difference I felt was in keeping pace. It spurred me on to keep pedalling and try a bit harder. Also, on such a windy night, it was nice to be able to draft behind someone for a bit and feel the reduction in wind resistance.

The biggest problem I find is with getting time to go out riding. I can usually manage an hour a week, and would love to do more, but the spare time just isn’t there. Especially when I’ve got a book to write. However, for the first time, I’m starting to think about group rides and even working up to doing a sportive! I love it.

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