Like most kids, I learnt to ride a bike around the age of three or four. But, due to the fact that we lived in the country when I was at both primary and to begin with, secondary school, I didn't cycle a great deal. I tried cycling a couple of times over the years, but just didn't love it, until recently.
I'd been looking for new ways to exercise, other than walking, when on a recent holiday there were bikes available to use. Both my husband, myself and a friend who stayed for the weekend, decided to take a ride or two. Previously I hadn't ever taken to cycling at all, but much to my surprise, I absolutely loved it.
My brother who sadly left us on New Year's Eve 2019 was a mad keen cyclist. He'd raced in the Ironman back in the 1990s and 2000s and always maintained a great interest in cycling. Back in the day, he and my father designed what was then a crazy-looking triathlon bicycle that many scoffed at. Until one was ridden by Spencer smith, the winner of the World Triathlon Championship in 1994 that is. The forward leaning position of the rider had never been seen before, but is now standard for triathlon bikes. A number of Allen Speedframes are on display in Auckland at Forza Bikes with other privately owned around the country. Anyway, I digress here, but I wanted to give you this backstory.
Over the years Paul encouraged me to get on a bike, but to no avail. No matter how many times I tried, it was just not my thing. Of course now, I'm beginning to understand the joy of cycling that he must have experienced for decades.
Taking things slowly as I venture out on my rides, being mindful of driveways, car doors opening, rough surfaces and broken glass, it's a steep learning curve. But it's one I'm absolutely loving.
Here's what I love about cycling:
1. The feeling of freedom as I whizz down a hill, naturally gaining more speed than I'm ever going to get walking or jogging.
2. Being able to rest when I need to. It's a great challenge dropping the gears down and pushing hard to get up the hills. But it's equally as enjoyable to button off and cruise for a bit when I get the chance.
3. Covering more distance than I would if I were walking, jogging (not that I do much of that these days), kayaking or paddle boarding. It makes exercising interesting to go further and see more.
4. Solo rides are easy and totally doable. Loading my bike onto the back of the car and heading off for a ride is easy. Or heading out with my husband or a friend is a great way to go too.
5. It burns more calories than walking and I find it way more enjoyable.
At this stage I'm riding my old bike, 16 years old to be precise, but in a few more weeks I'll investigate a new one. For now, I'm learning how to dismantle and maintain my bike. What I'm also doing is watching loads of YouTube videos by the Global Cycling Network about all manner of things cycling.
It's very early days for me yet. I'm loving it though, so fingers crossed I'll fall in love with cycling like Paul did and continue to cycle for many years to come. Chatting away to him as I ride is one of the best things in life right now; he's always got great advice and I can hear him loud and clear. And, that's special!