Claris, the bike, has arrived! Like a kid at Christmas, I got her home, attached the bits, tinkered, read the manual, tried on the gear. HA! Shit just got real.
In less than a year, I will be riding 100 miles for Anthony Nolan and Team Margot.
The last time I got on a bike I was probably 12.
Hubby and I discussed where I could go where there would be fewer people, fewer vehicles. A quiet place where nobody could hear me squeal and freak out, shout, swear and strop. All of these things happened, by the way.
Warwick Uni & Business Park area was chosen so I packed Claris into the back of the car with all of my gear.
I have to say, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I am very wobbly on two wheels. Even wobblier when cleats are involved. And the pain in your bits! I was double padded yet my bits feel like someone has taken a run up and booted me with a pair of steel toe-caps. But I have ace socks. Rainbow socks. Bright and colourful and they distract me. But I am thinking, if I am this tender after 2.4 miles, what is “down there” going to look like after 100. Don’t think about. Definitely don’t Google it.
I did a lap of the area, cycling in my running trainers, purely to understand how gears and brakes work and how I react when presented with cars, humans, animals. 3 cars passed, affording me a load of space. Perhaps they heard me squealing out “CAAAAAR” or maybe they figured I was pissed with the amount of wobble I had on and gave me a wide berth? Who knows. Either way, I’m grateful.
Bastard tree-rat was not so kind and ran out, a la playing Chicken, right in front of me and I had to find brakes to slam on.
Magpies swooped down, a man trimming the hedges of the businesses on the Ind Est nodded and my confidence grew.
Back to the car – it’s cleat time.
Whoever thought of these things is clearly a very sick individual. What fresh hell is this? The guys in the bike shop said, “think Dorothy & flick your foot out to unlock yourself”. What balls. Having to plan and decide when you want to stop before you stop is easier said than done.
I rode around a car park with one cleat in for a bit trying to find a way to not fall into traffic, or get gravel rash, if my brain didn’t plan sufficiently. Then I couldn’t get the other foot in. Then I couldn’t get either out. My language coloured the air of this deserted place. Quite thankful for that really.
I started to play with speed then planning to stop. OMG, these bikes shift some. I shat myself approaching a roundabout but then I settled.
It’s like learning to drive all over again, only this time without an instructor. Someone to take control if I fuck it up. So I have to accept the reality that, at some point, I’m going to ditch it. And it will hurt.
But that’s cool. I’ll shout, swear and cry a bit but I will get back in that saddle. No matter what.
Here is the video from my first cleat ride. It can only get better from here, right?
Massive thanks to Ian and Sue Medlock and Kev Wyke for their invaluable cycling advice and Dean Clarke Personal Trainer for beasting me into some level of fitness, all making me believe that I can do this. Mahoosively grateful for the RTW Scheme and to hubby for tolerating another huge investment so that I / We can do something amazing for others. I wouldn’t have made it this far without you x