I’ve not posted anything since the first of June! Phew! Anyway, I’ve been busy. “Doing what?” You might ask. Well, my answer would be “stuff, busy doing stuff, as you do.” Sounds a bit vague, I know but that’s my answer and I’m sticking to it.
One of the things I have been doing is cycling. I told you about my bike here so I won’t bore you with the details again. I’ve been out on the bike twice a week doing 10 – 12 miles round trips each time. I’ve been having a ball doing it. I only wish I could go out more often. Unfortunately the other days of the week I have to take the kids places and haven’t got a trailer to tow them in and they are still too young to ride their bikes for any reasonable distance.
We did get a trailer from E-bay however the tow hitch would fit neither my nor Mo Cushla’s bike (yep, he got a bike too!). We gave it away on Freegle as we couldn’t be bothered with trying to resell it. So we are looking for another but you can understand our reluctance to buy another one online as we want to make sure it fits our bikes before we make another financial gaffe. So if you’re reading this post and you know of any trailers available for purchase (or free) that fit on bikes with disc brakes and quick release, pray, get in touch.
Before we got the bikes, it hadn’t occurred to me that there were different types of bikes. Don’t get me wrong, I did recognise that some bikes varied in appearance. For example I could see that the ones used by Lance Armstrong and co. in long distance races were quite different from some of those ridden by city commuters and BMX competitors but I never really wondered why. In my head, they were all two-wheeled contraptions with pedals, handlebars and, hopefully, brakes used to get from point A to point B. I never considered that their different looks might be connected to their functionality.
So you can imagine my amazement and discombobulation when we went to the bike store and Mo Cushla and the lovely salesman got into a lengthy discourse about cycling surfaces, braking systems, gears, quick release, tyres, frames etc. They might as well have been speaking a foreign language for all I understood. Thankfully Mo Cushla’s clued up about things like that so I didn’t have to get involved and between them both, I think we got a good deal.
Since I got the bike, I have been reading up on cycling, having not done much in many years apart from the odd trip to CentreParcs and I’m amazed at what I’ve discovered. There’s a whole world of cycling of which I would have been none the wiser had I not started cycling. I’ll share some of what I’ve found out so far.
I alluded to the different kinds of bikes earlier so I’ll start with those. Without going into excruciating detail, there are mountain bikes, trials/dirt jump bikes, city comfort /urban mountain bikes, hybrid / trekking, racing, specialist racing and city racing bikes. You also have specialist bikes including folding, electric, touring, recumbents, BMX, tandems and finally women’s bikes which come in all styles but are specifically designed for women. And the list goes on but I’ll stop here.
Then you have cycling clothing and shoes. I was of the opinion that you could wear just about anything to cycle, and you can, but you’d probably be a lot more comfortable and able to go longer distances if you’re properly kitted out. There are short finger and long finger gloves, eye wear, jackets and jerseys made from breathable fabric which absorbs perspiration and padded shorts to mention just a few. In my opinion, the most important piece of kit no biker should do without is a helmet. However there are arguments for and against this so it’s up to the individual to decide.
You also have bike accessories to enhance your riding experience which include bike racks, panniers, bags, computers for speed, distance and/or calorie count, water bottle holders, water bottles and mud guards. Some safety features like lights come already attached but they are very basic and you may want to get some more high-tech ones. A bike lock is also a necessary accessory to own if you intend to do inner city cycling.
My lists are by no means conclusive, there are loads more out there, some of which I haven’t even come across myself being a novice cyclist.
If you were thinking of taking the plunge and ditching the car for a bike or simply cycling for exercise or pleasure, please don’t be put off by all the paraphernalia I’ve listed. You don’t actually need to own every single piece of kit for a successful ride on your bike. Some are must-haves and others, nice-to-haves. The most important thing is to just get out cycling. It’s a cheap way of getting around (once you get over the initial outlay of buying the bike), good fun and you keep fit in the process. What more could you ask for?
I would sign off by saying “on your bike” but that would be the exact opposite of what I’m trying to say in Cockney-speak so instead I’ll stick with…
…Tara for now.