What’s with the wheels?

Posted: 25/09/2014 in What's with the cycling?
Tags: , , ,

Interesting you should ask…

A month or two ago, I figured I should get back on a bike. I’ve barely ridden in years, and the last time I was on a road bike was probably when I was 15.

So, a check of the cycle-to-work options, a trip round a few cycle shops and an order placed and I ended up with an Avanti Giro 1 road bike. A good choice? Who knows, certainly not me, but it looked nice and sounded similar to the other bikes at the same kind of price so what the heck. The people I bought it from, Team Cycles in Team Valley Gateshead, also seemed canny, and that’s a big tick for me.


Nice, eh?

So, bicycle bought, pedals fitted, shoes purchased, cycling clothing purveyed and that’s me pretty much ready, eh? Well, other than not have been on a road bike, on the road for (let’s call it) around 25 years.

I had a quick tootle around the village, though where I live this means some hills, which was a bit of a shock – compared to the one time I’ve had my ancient girder-formed mountain bike out this year it was easy-ish. Ok, so it was flippin’ hard, but I could tell it was easier than the mountain bike would have been.

I couldn’t quite get the hang of pedalling out of the saddle – just wouldn’t work, but I now realise that was because I needed a slightly beefier gear so my legs didn’t need to pin wheel. If you’ve read any of my running shenanigans to date, you’ll realise these legs aren’t packed with twitch-muscle at all.

I’ve even got the hang of clips – (touching wood so as to put off the likelihood I’ll fall in a heap a the next junction I pull up to) – and now own an unfeasibly reflective jacket.

I’ve cycled into work three times now, and home again one-and-a-half times. Much, much more fun that driving, and in general a much less stressful experience.

Other than the arseholes.

I don’t often swear on the blog, but I can’t find another word to explain how irritating it is when someone does something truly stupid. It doesn’t happen often (twice today) but it leaves me very irritated as it’s putting my safety at risk.

The first time was heading through town down St James Boulevard and looking to cross the lane to turn right onto Scotswood Road – as I indicated, waited and the moved across, the chap behind decided to overtake into the other lane meaning I was unable to get over there without going into his side and instead was stuck in the wrong lane with traffic haring up behind me.

The second time was cycling up past the DWP building at Longbenton – the lady behind me wanted to turn left. Clearly she must have been on some kind of emergency paramedic or had the code to shut down the bomb. Rather than be five seconds later getting back (and this was turning into a street of houses so I’m guessing she was at her destination, she decided to overtake me then turn left against me. Which would have been a bit scary, if she hadn’t then slowed as she turned so I was travelling towards the side of her car at the fastest speed I can go at on the biggest ring as it’s a lovely, straight, mildly downhill stretch. According to Strava I was going at around 21 mph at that point. Brakes on, swear loudly, and try to avoid the collision. Just came to a halt in time.

OK, so I also didn’t mention the bit where some fool decides you’re not filing past their car and pulls as far in to the left as they can to block you getting past. Or the fool who overtook me as I went around the crazy-tight corner at the top of Matthew Bank.

I’m realising I might be giving a less-that-jolly write up here, I have to stress that I am really loving the cycling, it uses a whole different set of muscles to the running and is much more achievable for commuting when you life 17 miles away (or maybe 15.5 – not sure where the other mile and a half went this morning) than feets. For 99% of the time it’s fantastic, life-affirming and sets me up for the day.

Look ma, I’m cycling!

Need to get some club gear and veg it up…



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