Monday, 13 May 2013

On Yer Bike!

Apologies for posting without photos, but I have a new camera and being the techno whizz I am I can't work out how to upload photos.  Thank you for the advice some of you have offered but I still can't do it!

I've bought a new bicycle and before I go any further I will offer my beginner’s tips in case there are any other cycling virgins out there.

Handy Hints

Thongs are a big no no unless you are up for a little masochistic bottom flossing.

When planning a route avoid places with names like; Bramshill, Farley Hill, The Downs, Lower or Upper anywhere because the clue is in the name – chuffing hills.  If you go whizzing down a hill, the wind whooshing through your hair, legs akimbo, inevitably you have to get back up the other side.

Keep your mouth closed.  Flies supposedly contain some protein but I would rather have a handful of peanuts any day.  

Choose your cycling clothing carefully

courtesy of

I think I paid more for this push-bike than I did for my first car.  In fact I paid more for the blooming helmet than my first car.  My old bicycle is hard work; I can only equate the difficulty of riding it to a jockey riding a donkey in the Grand National.  Whilst my new bike is not quite a thoroughbred it is proving to be a good little runner. I figured if I paid a little more for a bike guilt alone may will get me out riding.  

I have many pieces of exercise equipment.  I have an exercise ball, an abdominal roller, a lateral thigh stepper, a dyna-band, a chest flexer and a mat to name but a few.  In the old house I always managed to get these into the water heater cupboard and squeeze the door closed.  They never saw the light of day again until the next piece was shoe-horned in.  I am sure a psychoanalyst would have a field day about some event during P.E. in early childhood, a Freudian gym-slip or something.  It is a standing joke now if I see a piece of equipment and mention that it looks good the LGB will ask if it will fit in the cupboard!  So, my thinking is that the bike won't fit in a cupboard and each time I pass it in the garage it will look at me accusingly and remind me that I could have had a nice little beach holiday sipping Pina Coladas for the price I paid for Bella the bike.

I rode it back the 13 kilometers from the shop the day I bought it and nearly put it straight out to pasture.  Only yards from the shop a van pulled across in front of me. I had to get off and walk up one hill. I felt every bump on the road and I thought I may have to have the seat surgically removed at the end of the ride. But I persevered and we now have a passionate love affair going on.

What to wear?  I wanted to look the part but didn't want people thinking 'who does she think she is Lance Armstrong?' Minus the drugs of course, well I do pop the odd Ibuprofen, just for the sore muscles, you understand.  But I have now treated myself to a cyclist's jacket.  It has little pockets on the back for my phone (in case I fall off or get lost), some money (I might need a drink or nourishment or a taxi home), tissues (it’s a runny nose hobby) and of course my lippy (a girl can't leave home without it).   I have also purchased a skort, which is a pair of shorts with a skirt attached and I wear that over my leggings.  I figured it would be a little less scary for drivers coming up behind me and encountering my big arse. They would recognise me as a female in a skort and not as an eclipse of the sun.

I have done a few 9 to 11 kilometer rides and was pretty chuffed to do 25 kilometers one day.  There are no great speeds involved during my rides but I did reach 24 miles an hour going downhill.  That almost made the 30 mile an hour road signs worthwhile. I don’t plan my routes, I just head off.  Dad lives in a lovely area in Hampshire.  I meander up and down lanes; all the places you wouldn't go with a car. I daydream about which gated house I would buy if I won the lottery.  I convert garages and out-houses into beautiful abodes.  I have found terraced cottages overlooking village greens that I never knew existed and small business tucked away behind trees.  I avoid pot holes and when some idiot passes a little too close for comfort I shout 'tosser' and hope he can't lip read in his rear view mirror.

I am frequently overtaken by uber fit young things and wrinkly old things.  Today the only things I managed to pass were a rabbit grazing in the hedgerow and an old biddy with a zimmer frame, no really.  On one ride I thought I would go left at the roundabout until I noticed a fellow cyclist complete with high definition yellow jacket ahead of me.  I knew with a little push I could overtake her.  So, I went for it and I did!  Yay, give that gal the yellow jersey!  How sad am I?

Today I headed off in the rain.  That’s dedication for you!  I just followed my nose. I go down cul-de-sacs and back up again, along unadopted roads and if the name of a road takes my fancy how can I resist turning down it?  Today it was Nutbean Lane and it didn't disappoint.  I approached an old man with a walking stick and a dog and as I drew alongside I said 'good morning'.  The poor old fellow visibly jumped and yelled 'Aaaaahhh' before returning my greeting. I apologised for frightening him and cycled on giggling I'm ashamed to say.

En route I decided I would like to go further than my previous 25 km. I thought 32 km (20 miles) would be a good distance. I was pleased as punch when I reached my goal, but that quickly dissipated when I realised I hadn't yet reached home.  By now I was struggling a little.  My thoughts turned from beautiful lottery win homes to the length of the NHS waiting list for a couple of replacement knees.  I won’t even go into how my derriere was feeling and my nether regions are fairly well padded, how do these skinny Tour de France riders keep going?

With no membership to Roadside Recovery I had no choice but to carry on.  I was pretty chuffed to get back all red faced and wobbly legged to tell Dad I had just cycled 35.405568 kilometers.  He said he had been tip-toeing around the house because he thought I was still in bed!

I am reporting my progress in kilometres because that is what I am now used to since living in France. Okay, I'm lying. I am really doing it because  35.405568 km sounds so much further than 22 miles!

For now I am thoroughly enjoying the freedom the bike offers.  I am not so sure how enthusiastic I will be around the hills of the Charente.  Holland looks like an appealing place to live.  I wonder if I pushed reaaalllly hard do you think I could get the bike in the water heater cupboard?


  1. Welcome to the club!
    Don't go completely metric - height climbed is always in feet......
    "Tosser" should always be accompanied by a one finger salute (This must be practised regularly so you can do it without wobbling)
    Dump the lippy and replace with Sudacrem - apply at the opposite end)
    Next time you shave, remember to leave the sideburns.
    Brilliant read
    PS You can't put the bike in the cupboard - you don't have any cupboards!

    1. Of course I shall stick to feet when cycling up mountains!! 100 meters is 328 feet, sooo much more impressive in feet! Still working out the sideburns! xx

  2. Where did that go? I hadn't finished yet! AS I WAS SAYING, this was brilliant! I love love love the concept of bottom flossing :-) I have Bella's friend here; and old Raleigh I bought for 50 euros six months ago, that is patiently waiting to go for her first ride. She glares at me every time I walk past her, and I suspect she's planning on chucking me in the nearest hedge as soon as I do. I'll send the link for this post on to my sister, who is a bikeaholic blogger who also wears a wacky skort doodah. Now I'm off to find the same get-up as Borat for my first ride, à la Freddy Mercury....

    1. Home Wasnt Built In A Day25 May 2013 at 21:08

      Thank you MM. Get Raleigh our immediately, but only start with gentle bottom flossing! I can see you whizzing down the country lanes singing 'Don't Stop Me Now' all lycra-ed out! Let me have your sister's blog URL please.

    2. We have a deal with HMS Raleigh: she comes out at the same time as the sun. My sister's blog is here:
      Thanks for your lovely comment on my competition entry, I'm flattered ;)


Thanks for your comments. Nice to know there is someone out there!