About a month or so ago, an email came through outlining the launch of a bike 2 work scheme which prompted a question, could I really cycle 20 miles into work? I am a 34 year old guy and regularly go to the gym, with a steady and safe routine of the aerobic machines about 4/5 times a week; so not in the worst shape, although admittedly at 13& a half stone (189 pounds – 5:8″ short) I am carrying a bit of timber. I used to commute to work in my gap year as student but that was 10 miles away and over 10 years ago, so could I really double up on the distance? The answer was to be a hopeful yes and after some degree of (extensive) research I quickly realised i would have to be (my very first ever) road bike and after more research I finally settled upon a Giant Defy 1; although selecting one bike among the unbelievable amount of options was a challenge to say the least!
Well the day finally arrived to take delivery, unbox, and set up my brand spanking new road bike and, of course, I had to take her For a test run. Being used to mountain bikes my first impressions were, this was very very different to what I was used to: a featherlight frame, tiny slick tyres, alien gears come breaks, handlebars that seemed too far away and a saddle that was more like a razor blade than a seat! A few circuits of my local industrial estate and that little voice in my head said “lets get out on the road”!
After a few strokes and a little uphill I rolled on to a smooth decent to a flat stretch of road and really had a chance to see what road cycling was all about, suddenly the alien gears felt like I was in control of a finely tuned instrument (shifting up and down with each change in the road) and shifting lower, putting the power down throughout the gears and pedals I realised why the wheels are so thin, why the frame was so light, and why the seat was so aerodynamic; I was absolutely flying and from the moment the wind started to hit me I was completely hooked.
Yes my legs hurt and my backside is a little sore, but a planned 3 mile warm up resulted in 8 miles, of fun and fear in equal measure; that voice in my head is saying “I want to do this again, except further, faster and longer”, and I completely agree. I guess it’s that voice that speaks to anyone who decides to cycle and especially amid the crazy/unpredictable traffic along with the elements on the open road and who am I to ignore it. My early plan is to get in the saddle as often as I can over the coming weeks and then to build up to a 20 mile run too or from work and then take it from there, the way I am feeling now that won’t be too long.
Happy cycling everyone!