On Your Bike

I`ve been cycling almost since I started walking. There were no stablizers in those days. And no child sized bikes either. No siree, we were expected to start on Mother`s high nellie

BikeThe fact that our legs were too short to allow us sit on the saddle and reach the pedals, was irrelevant. The need to run an errand for Mother meant we would learn to swiftest way possible to complete it. Calling into Aunty or Gran on a message, meant cycling would have to be mastered or else we would be condemned to shank`s mare as a mean of transport.

And so, being the clumsiest of my siblings, I gathered a myriad of injuries in my determination to ride the high nellie. One such, left my chin bruised for days. I have no memory of the fall. Nor of mother`s reaction. Though I can clearly recall the pain of my bruised jaw. My mother wasn`t the fretting sort and I was none the worse for that. I was still let off down the road on that bike again until, eventually, I mastered the delicate art of balancing a bag of groceries on one handle bar, while pedalling furiously off-saddle.

I actually got to enjoy cycling. Which is just as well, as it was our chief mode of transport to school. No ownership was declared over the motley selection of bikes at our house. In any case, they were all either second hand or borrowed for long term use from some cousin or aunt who no longer needed them. There was an understanding that they bikes might be passed on to another member of the extended tribe or revert to their original owners so they were called Aunt`s bike, or Cousin Tom`s bike but never our bikes.

So, when I first started working, I was thrilled to actually purchase a bike of my own. What a joy it was to travel the roads once again. And this time on a proper bike. With gears-gears! And brakes that actually worked.Cycling became an even greater delight when I took the chance to explore further and further afield, sometimes taking off for a few days to travel more distant parts of this island.

Cycling kept me fit before running ever came along. And the thing is,the fitness element was secondary to the sheer joy of whizzing along on two wheels.

This has been my bike for the past six years.

Ready for Action

Ready for Action

I have to admit to having an on-again, off-again affair with it. I`d go through weeks of cycling every day. Then, just as suddenly, inclement weather or sheer busyness would force me off road again and back to my lazy ways.

The bike`s perfect. In a functional road bike sort of way. I won`t be taking it to a triathlon any time soon. And I do regret not pushing the bike shop to find me a lighter racer type bike with down turned handles.

But, for the purposes of cross training, the bike`s exactly what I need. And for the singular joy I get of discovering hidden roads and boreens in our lush countryside, it fits the bill. Hey, I might actually really enjoy all this cross-training mallarkey.

I summoned Teen Two to spruce the bike up today. And, for a wad of cash, he did the needful. Lovingly washed and polished, wheels pumped and WD-40 applied, it`s now roadworthy once more. The addition of a lock and basket will even make it work worthy, should I ever be tempted to bike there.

Half-marathon looms in July. I am in week three of Hal Higdon`s Half Marathon plan. Bless that guy, but he tells me exactly what I need to do, how far and in what way I need to run. And he also includes cross training.

Tomorrow is Sunday. Hal says a long slow run day and seven miles of a run is called for. I am looking forward to that.

And I will also give my bike it`s first airing of the year. We are having the slowest ever crawl towards a summer that may never even happen. Yet, May never fails to delight. Teethering on two wheels, and whizzing past lush hedges, I will be well placed to appreciate it all. Blossoms, birds and brooding skies will abound so perhaps I should take my camera along too.

Now, wouldn`t that be a bit of fun?


17 thoughts on “On Your Bike

  1. Pingback: Bunratty Folk Park | redhenrun

  2. I love this! I, too, learned on a 10-speed of my moms, tumbling directly into a cactus and slicing my leg open. Didn’t (couldn’t?) stop me, though. I, too, am completely in love with my bike. I encourage my kids to ride everywhere they can, and when we all go out together, we make a nice sight. Ride on, ma’am, ride on.

  3. When I lived in Ireland I used to cycle to work, I had to invest in a good quality set of waterproofs or I would have always found excuses not to! Your mum was great for teaching you early, it’s great for kids to have something sporty to do without even realising it!

      • That’s very true. Also I’m not sure about other countries but I do think Ireland has an over-emphasis on a limited number of team sports. I used to avoid PE because I didn’t like them. I always thought I hated sport. It’s only since I’m an adult that I realised I like aerobics and sports like that.

  4. My first bike came on Christmas when I was eleven. Full size, second hand, three gears. It was 103 degrees that day (F) about 40C. I had heat stroke………. rode it from morning till dark………… spent two days in bed as a result………… could not get off the bike as I was not tall enough to put my feet down so I simply came to a halt and fell on the ground…….. no soft grass to land on as this was summer and we lived in the suburbs………….. loved that bike.

  5. Love your biking skills history. I could have used some of it since a little time away from cycling still takes a bit for my confidence to return. Doesn’t seem your early challenges would allow for such a problem.

    • Haha! I only discovered in later life that balance is not my strong point. I can fall over even when walking. Glad I dìdn`t know that when I was learning how to cycle.

    • Some places are better set up for cycling than others, in any case, the biggest challenge being our fellow road users, rather than our biking skills.

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