Cycling lady

Viv Hopkins

Our August '23 Belle

Viv's adventures by bike

My earliest recollection of cycling is with my mum holding onto my bike which also had stabilisers as I tried to master the art of wobbling through Nonsuch park on my very first bike. 

Once mastered I would go off with friends for the day cycling around the local streets. As long as I passed my house every hour or so I was left to my own devices. Such freedoms for youngsters have long since gone!  

I have fond memories of taking my kids out on local bike rides.  The funniest being when my now ex husband announced proudly that he had fixed our youngest sons bike and off we went. It was a lovely day and we had gone for at least 10 mins before I heard a scream from behind me.  Well ok it was actually more of a ‘what the f…,’ but I wouldn’t like the reader to think ill of my son!  I turned to see him cycling holding the handbars and connected stem a good foot above the rest of the bike which at that moment overbalanced evicting my son from his seat. Hilarious until we realised he had landed on and smashed his new phone. An embarrassed father who had clearly forgotten to reattach the handlebar stem to the rest of the bike had to come to our rescue!   It was only about a year ago that my 30 something son told me he had already smashed his new phone but didn’t know how to tell us and this accident gave him a perfect cover story!!  🙂

Party! Party!

The most irresponsible thing I did was cycle to a party that was not far enough to warrant getting the car out but also too far to walk. All was going well on the return journey until I misjudged a pavement lip. I turned the bike to go up but the front wheel had other ideas and turned sharply to the right. I sobered up pretty dam quick as I sailed over the handlebars and landed smash on my front teeth.  I never did find the broken bits of my 3 front teeth. (Ouch -horror) Even worse it was a Saturday night and I had an extremely important client meeting on Monday am and no emergency dentists available on Sunday. It’s amazing how much you age with no front teeth. Also a large and bloody open wound over my chin finished the grotesque look off. I spent all Sunday asking colleagues to step in for me. But to no avail I think the client was horrified when I turned up and smiled. My speech also had an unrecognisable lisp to it.  I should have taken a siccy but it was considered really bad form not to turn up to work in those days unless you were dying! 

Time for a Challenge

My most challenging event was when my friend had booked us on her dream challenge holiday to cycle down the Canal de midi from Toulouse to Bezier – 177 km. I found myself in hospital in November having suffered a stoke with resulting paralysis all down one side. The holiday was only 6 months away but I think the challenge spurred my recovery and I have some terrific memories of France, the tree lined canal and of course the food and vino after a long day cycling in the sunshine. 

I am severely directionally challenged so going out with the Bingley Belles means I know I will always get home!  It has taken me on some inspiring picturesque rides that I would never think of doing myself. It has also bought new friends and wonderful companionship. 

A word of advice though – never listen to Sarah White when she says ‘it’s only a small incline, a little hill, short climb…….etc’ as it could turn out to be a mountain! 

Viv Hopkins's favourite ride

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