Cycling journey

When does a cycling obsession stops being an obsession?

All day, I have been feasting my eyes on a pair of very fine wheels.

A road bike, so very shiny and pretty and is everything I’ve dreamt of is on sale, and I’ve been obsessively looking at it on my computer screen while daydreaming about owning it.

Reading a cycling training magazine during lunch

To an outsider, I appeared to be calm and collected, yet this is the chaos that was happening inside:

Heart: pretty bike, pretty bike, where for art thou £2000?

Brain: for Geeezers sake, stop thinking about that bike if you know you can’t afford it!

Heart: thinking is your job Brain, I feel. And right now, I am feeling the love that is brewing, a crashing wave on a lonesome beach… and I know this bike loves me back…

Brain: do you have to be so melodramatic??

Heart: *bleeds* oh the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune….

Brain: you already have a bike!

Heart: but… I like this one…. It’s got better gears, better handles, it’ll be faster and so pretty… think of something! I am drowning….

Brain: well, stop beating so fast, I can’t think

Heart: sorry

Brain: *does a quick calculation* ok we can’t afford it now. Maybe next Black Friday ok?

Heart: but that’s so far away…. *sobs*

Brain: it’s either that or we don’t travel for the rest of the year

Heart: *sings* the course of true love never did run through…..

Brain: FFS I am switching off.

Like a slug clinging to a leaf of lettuce, I am addicted

My new found cycling friends from the Wilderness Ireland trip did warn me: “It starts with magazines, then your dropping into bike shops whenever you see one, then bike shows, pretty soon you’re buying gear all willy nilly.”

Welcome to the Dark Side, disciple.

His words came true. So far I’ve bought more than I budgeted for, and it’s a never ending cycle (pun intended) of wanting more.

What exactly is it about cycling that attracted me so much?

Could it be the lycra? The click of the shoe clips? A cyclist’s posture hovering over the rams-horn handle bars?

I’ve decided it’s the whoosh. That sound when a peloton races past, the spin of the wheels, the flow of the wind.

That sexy whoosh.

I found that out when I watched hundreds of cyclists ride past our flat on their Prudential London race last year.

Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. Click. Whoosh.

Prudential London riders cycle past the main road near our flat. I can still hear the whoosh!

Like a child making up their mind on what they wanted to do when they grow up.

I wanted to be like them.

Oh, and the cyclists who draw with their GPS? How cool are they?!

READ: Virtual snowman created by cyclist using app on London streets

READ: Strava artist draws pictures with his bike and GPS

The beginning of an expensive obsession

Since buying a discounted hybrid ride-around last Black Friday, I’ve been ‘shopping’ a little too much for little bits and pieces for the bike, including a little cycling computer that will track my hours and distance on each of my rides with the Kingston Cycling Campaign (KCC), or mini training sessions I’ve set myself whenever I can.

Eventually I want to learn to ride a proper road bike. You know, with clip-on pedals and all.

A good road bike can burn a deep hole in my savings, but I am seriously considering the purchase because I haven’t wanted something so much for a while. I dream of it, constantly look at it and cannot take my mind off it.

In the above conversation, the brain did win the argument on cost and it won’t be until the next Black Friday would I start looking to buy. Meanwhile, I have been eyeing other people’s bikes, and have been caught looking at passing cyclists with admiring gazes.

Just so you know, when I do that I am really sizing out their bikes, not the cyclists!

Looks like the cycling bug might be as strong as the travel bug!

So, I’ve created a new category on this blog specifically to write about cycling. Coming months will see me joining local rides, part take in a charity ride and I’ve even signed up to a class to learn how to maintain and fix my own bike. So stay tuned.

Didn’t think I’d turn into one of those people who spend an entire afternoon cleaning their wheels!

Slowly taking off my training wheels

Remember my post about cycling in November last year when I mentioned I’d signed up for the council’s cycle safety training?

When the instructor asked what my goals are, whether it’s just to be able to confidently ride to the shops, or do leisure riding around a park… I had told him at the time that I would like to eventually be as good as the Kingston Wheelers (a local sportive cycling club).

It’s not that I particularly want to join the Kingston Wheelers, but to be able to ride at their ability (a minimum speed of being able to ride around Richmond park three times within an hour) and fineness would be pretty cool.

So I figured, for me to be good enough to deserve a pretty road bike, I am going to have to up my game.

One of my biggest goals is to ride the entire length of the Rhine River, the EuroVelo 15. From its source in Andermatt, Switzerland to the mouth in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. 1233 km through four countries. Not a long way for experienced road riders but for me, at this point of my cycling journey, it’s a mammoth distance. Yet, that’s something I’ll work towards.

I won’t be ready for it until at least next summer, and before that I’ll take on little challenges to better myself!

Training in Richmond Park.

Preparing for my first cycling challenge for the year

What better way to improve than to have a goal to aim for?

So I decided to sign up for the London to Reading ride with the Heart Foundation. It is a 40 miles ride which Google reckons will take 3 hours to complete.

Obviously Google has never seen my slow cranks dragging up the hill behind all the other riders.

I have no doubt that I’ll be able to finish it, but whether I’ll make it there by mid-night is another story. In theory, this distance is only a little bit more than our daily average of the cycling tour in Ireland as well as the Sunday rides with the KCC.

So based on the past experience, I can definitely make the distance in about…. 7 hours? If I start the ride at 8am, I should be able to finish before the organisers pack up their support stands.

From now to the event I’ll be joining a few more training sessions with the KCC, and will take on a bit of off-bike strength and stamina training with a combination yoga and light jogging.

So, when does an obsession stop being an obsession? Well, to be honest I still don’t know. I just know, I am pretty serious about this cycling thing!

Why am I telling you this?

They say by talking about your goals, by making people aware of them, is to put yourself accountable to actually do it.

So, now that you know what my goals are, I feel that I need to work harder to prove I am not just all talk.

And I’d also love your support. Seeing that it’s a charity event, I’ve set up a little fundraising page to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation.

I don’t have a soppy story to tell. I am simply supporting the Heart Foundation because the heart is something we all have, and it doesn’t discriminate between race, gender nor social status that we all have a risk of heart disease. Supporting the cause just made sense.

To help Heart Foundation fight for every heart beat, I am going to cycle through my every heart beat.

So, if you are not joining me on the ride, consider putting in a small donation towards mine!

Click here to donate

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