(Completely forgot about a blog on Sunday with all my school visits!)
Over the summer holidays, I wanted to learn to ride a bicycle. I was kindly given a bike and had it on the balcony for a while before eventually having a chance to use it a couple of weeks into the holidays. I got picked up by a good friend of mine and we went to a lovely place called Upton Country Park to get me cycling for the first time since I was a teenager!
I’ve never been confident on anything with two wheels, and when I was a child I would ride along on my bike and soon fall over. It’s been far too many years since I’ve been back on one and, to be perfectly honest, I was bricking it!!
We parked just outside of the park in a quieter residential area and cycled along the pavement into the park. At first it took a few tries to get my bike adjusted for me, but once I got going I had no idea why I kept falling over all those years ago! The only tricky part at first was the stopping and starting when crossing the road.
Once we got into the park, we went along a trail-way through the trees and back again. The adrenaline rush was amazing as I whooshed past trees and over the bumpy path. On the way back into the car park, I had to navigate between a boulder and a gate post… which didn’t end well for me! I hadn’t quite mastered turning yet, and decided instead to trap my arm between my body and the gate post, leaving a nice big bruise that got nicknamed “Casper” by my mum (it looked like the ghost!). It hurt loads, but I got back on my bike and continued.
We then went along another trail-way to head towards Poole along the water, which started off through the trees and opened up to a paved road the rest of the way. This is where the second mishap happened… my long hair decided to start wrapping round my neck, even though I had it in a ponytail, and it started to really annoy me as I went along. I lifted one hand off my handlebars to brush it away, started wobbling and then bailed into a tree to land in some shrubs with my bike on top of me! My friend heard me yelp, stopped and turned round to see if I was OK to see me grinning like an idiot in a pile on the floor! I still didn’t let it beat me, got up and carried on.
The next day, I woke up feeling rather battered and bruised. It probably didn’t help that I did a spin class after the ride too, but oh well! Although I was covered in bruises, it really didn’t put me off! I decided to take the husband to Upton so he could get on his bike again, and left him behind a lot of the time! I was really pleased with myself, especially with the fact that I didn’t crash that time! He was worse off than me, too!
I hadn’t had a chance to ride again until last Sunday, when my husband and I went down to the beach to cycle all the way from Branksome Chine to Hengistbury Head and back again. I completely forgot to set my Garmin up several times, but it was a brilliant day out! It was a little busy down the beach where it was sunny and a triathlon was going on, but once we got past Boscombe Pier it started to quieten down enough to get some speed up. The trickiest part was manoeuvring around people (and dogs!), but we got to Hengistbury Head safely. It even had a little bit of road cycling in the route, which I was rather terrified by at first! We stopped for a milkshake at a cafe and then headed back to the car.
So now I know I CAN ride a bicycle! I’m hoping to get my confidence up enough so that I can use my bike more to commute, but I need more practice on quiet roads first so I can stop and start safely at junctions. I can see why so many people do it as it’s nowhere near as stressful as getting stuck in traffic in a car, but I just need the confidence not to be scared around the cars! Fingers crossed the weather will stay dry enough in the evenings so I can get out on it more for fun before being able to give my car a well-deserved rest!