Back in 2014, when Mud first suggest that we all get bikes and start going out on them as a family to try to get fit, I thought he was mad. I hadn’t been on a bike for over thirty years and the last time I had ridden one, I had come off, in spectacular style, by performing a flying dismount over the handlebars! Brushing aside my concerns, Mud ploughed on and I soon found myself the dubious owner of a rather lovely Pendleton Brooke Hybrid bike, complete with wicker basket and snazzy mud guards.
That first bike ride, a short distance down one of the local lanes, was nerve-wracking but before long I began to enjoy myself and within a couple of weeks, felt confident enough to start venturing out on my own during the day. That first summer, weather permitting, I’d drop the girls at school, come home, change into suitable bike riding gear and then head out for a ride along the lanes and roads in our area. Initially my journeys were short 20 to 30 minute, 2 or 3 mile long affairs but by the end of that first month I was able to do 10 miles in an hour which may not sound a lot but when you consider that there isn’t a flat stretch of road within a 50 mile radius of us (and that isn’t an exaggeration you know), I was pretty pleased with my progress. The weight dropped off, muscle tone improved no end and I was feeling so much better and more energised than I had for years. It helped that the weather was kind as well.
Last year I started much the same way and went on a few rides but the weather wasn’t so good and I wasn’t feeling 100%, the reason for which becoming clear at the start of this year, and it became a chore to get my bike out and go for the ride because although I enjoyed getting out and about, the recovery time for each excursion was long and drawn out and far from feeling energised, I was left feeling drained and lack lustre. My last recorded bike ride for 2015 was August, as opposed to October in 2014.
This year, as regular readers will know, has been a bit of a slog so far but as the weather has improved over the last few weeks, I began to feel the urge to get out on my bike again, regardless as to whether or not my energy levels were improved enough. I couldn’t help but feel that the inevitable weight gain caused by inactivity, was adding to my woes and I needed to do something positive to lift my mood. I think Mud was a bit concerned that I was trying to run before I could walk, so to speak, as I have more tests coming up at the end of this week, the results of which could impact on my activity levels but it is this fact which has spurred me on to be more proactive.
“Well you could cycle around the village,” my erstwhile other half suggested, “That wouldn’t push you too much!”
Much as I appreciate the concern, a leisurely jaunt around the village which would take all of about 5 minutes, wasn’t exactly what I had in mind but I wasn’t going to take any unnecessary risks either. So it was that Tuesday morning saw me drop Little Mudlet at school (Middle Mudlet catches the school bus now that she is at Secondary school), grab my helmet, pump up my tyres, oil my chain, fill my water bottle and activate the cyclometer app on my phone.
“I’m just going to the next village,” I told Mud which was an achievable 2 mile round trip, along the main road.
As I cycled through the village, I changed my mind. I decided that all things considered, a solo ride along a main road probably wasn’t such a good idea and so I decided to venture down one of the lanes instead ……… just as far as the bridge, as this would be about the same distance as it was to the next village.
Of course I sailed passed the bridge, feeling really, really good and decided to go as far as the next stand of trees because, well, it wasn’t that much further …..
….. but then as I reached the trees I could see the railway crossing in the distance and it wasn’t really that much further ….
Exhilarated, I stopped for a few minutes at the crossing, had a long drink of water and watched two trains go by before turning around to head back and then it hit me …… the head wind that is!
The really strong headwind!
And fast on its’ heels, the memory that the lane to the crossing is downhill all the way which, of course, meant that the journey back was going to be all uphill, albeit at a gentle gradient but, you know, up hill is up hill no matter how steep or gradual it is!
At that point, feeling a little daunted, not to mention shaky, I did wonder at the devil which has sent me this way but, resigned to my fate, I set off back along the lane, secure in the knowledge that I could stop for a break if needs be. Quarter of an hour later, I arrived back home absolutely on cloud nine because in spite of my misgivings, I had managed the entire trip back without stopping. It did take a lot longer for me to recover than I had been used to and I was a little wobbly on my pins a bit later in the day, as I’d obviously used up my energy but I was so pleased to have been able to do what had turned out to be a 4.2 mile trip, after 9 months of inactivity and in spite of my health. I did the same ride on Thursday evening (it had been far to blowy during the day to even consider trying a repeat journey) stopping briefly to take the header picture and slept well for my troubles. I’m hoping to get back out tomorrow, probably with Mud and the girls in tow and then, weather permitting, a couple of times during the week but I’ll have to be careful and make sure that I don’t push myself too hard.
For now though, I’m happy to be back on the road to fitness and I hope that this will help me conquer whatever it is that is causing my problems.