I used to cycle everywhere when I was a kid, when I got my first job I I rode my bike there, my life can be defined by the bike. I hit a low spot when I was in my late teens, started to rebel and I stopped riding bikes, it took me a good few years before I got myself another bike. Then about 10 years ago, my girlfriend (now wife) were looking for ways to get healthy and quick way to get to work and we decided we would get bikes… I don’t think we really thought the whole thing through back then, but 10 years on we both love to ride our bikes.
It started pretty normally, we got ourselves some cheapish bikes from our local bike shop and I remember riding back from the shop, it had been almost 10 years since I had last rode a bike but that felt like a blink of an eye, I was back on the bike and it was a love affair that had been rekindled. Gayle was a little wobbly at first on her bike and she was confused by the shoe cages (toe clips) and after riding for only 20 minutes we had to stop at our first set of traffic lights and Gayle pulled off a perfect track stand.. for 10 seconds until she fell over, turns out she had forgotten her feet were in these cages and she couldn’t put her foot down and she toppled, it was that same time in which we took off the death traps for feet, but thankfully it didn’t put her off. Not to feel left out I had a similar incident a few weeks later when I moved over to cleats and had forgotten how to remove my feet from the cleats.
I commuted to work, I avoided overcrowded trains, I enjoyed the freedom of moving through London at rush hour and I didn’t care how I looked. In those early days we just enjoyed the freedom of riding, we didn’t care, we just enjoyed riding our bikes. We had the odd weekend of riding for fun, not huge distances but fun distances. But over the years we’ve built up distance our bikes have changed, we’ve upgraded replaced aluminium frames with Carbon and Titanium, we moved from flat pedals to mountain bike cleats to road cleats, our baggy commuter clothes have become lycra and we ride all year around.
When we started out we didn’t have fancy computers or Strava to track our activities, but we also didn’t have as many people out on bikes back then either, then all of a sudden everything changed and more people started riding, the success of Bradley Wiggins in the Tour De France and the Olympic fever hit everyone and suddenly my quiet morning rides became rampant with a lot of people taking up cycling.
I leave you with 2 quotes from cyclists I admire
“Ride as much or as little, or as long or as short as you feel. But ride.” ~ Eddy Merckx
“It never gets easier, you just go faster.” ~ Greg LeMond
Enjoy the ride and ride for joy.