I came to cycling late in life.
The reasons have been lost in the mists of time, but while my brother whizzed around on his bike, I would only use a scooter or roller skates.
There was an annual attempt at teaching me on the family summer holiday and I learnt just enough to allow cycling around a tiny, traffic-free island in Scotland for a uni field trip, but that was as far as my bike experience went for 20 years.
My sister, Michelle, encouraged me to join the Belles and for a while, I was a social-only member.
I eventually borrowed a bike and did some very, very tentative beginner rides.
On my first few I stopped for every pedestrian, every dog, every pothole, every goose, and canal bridges were a definite no-no (under or over).
I still don’t see myself as a confident cyclist.
I will never be doing 100-mile cycles or careering down mountain (serious kudos to those of you that do) but I know I’ve improved a lot since those rides (even if the Dock Lane bridge is walked-round).
The training opportunities offered by the Belles have helped enormously, and though I don’t get out as often as I’d like, I’m even fairly comfortable taking myself out for a solo pedal which is something I never thought I’d be doing.
I decided I was ready to buy my own, first ever bike, but unfortunately, this decision coincided with the great bike shortage of 2020.
After waiting months and months for non-appearing stock, I decided to change what I was looking for and go for an e-bike. While this was more expensive than planned, my employer is signed up for a Cycle 2 Work scheme, so the cost is spread and tax-free.
I would definitely recommend looking into these schemes if it’s available to you. The e-Bike is brilliant and has opened up cycling to me in a way I know a standard bike would never have done.
On the flat, I generally don’t use the power but it’s great to know that assistance is there if I need it, it’s fab for hills and gives me the confidence to try distances I wouldn’t have dreamt of.
I’m very much looking forward to taking it to the Cinder Track weekend and having some fun on the coastal routes next year.
In fact, I’m looking forward to all the great rides, socials and trips I know T’Committee will be planning for 2022, so I’ll sign off by saying I hope to see lots of you next year for more adventures x