October 1, 2011

“I want to ride my bicycle…I want to ride my bike…”

Filed under: Cycletta — by carolspage @ 21:53
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I left the gym on Friday, after my last session with my trainer before Cycletta tomorrow. I got into the van, turned it on and radio came on – and I heard Freddy Mercury’s voice singing the words “I want to ride my bicycle…I want to ride my bike…” I can’t lose!

I’m really looking forward to tomorrow – it is going to be GREAT!!

I’ve got my fluids in, I’ve loaded carbs. I’ve got everything set for tomorrow morning and I am READY!

See you all later tomorrow –


August 14, 2011

I need to do more!

Filed under: Cycletta — by carolspage @ 19:11
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Last Saturday morning I felt very strange…I couldn’t stand to be in the house…I had to be outside…I had to be on the bike.

This was very strange.  I’ve never before had this feeling that I Need To Get Out And Do Something. I mean, I’m the girl whose favourite weekend pre-hubby was a holiday weekend where I slept for three days straight (the few hours of wakefulness were spent watching movies while waiting for the pizza to be delivered).

But there it was – I was pacing around…I couldn’t sit still…I felt….squirrelly – that’s the best word for it….squirrelly.

I went to my gym and unloaded the bike.  I’d been around this field before, with my trainer. While I didn’t try The Big Hill, I did ride round the field, which gave me lots of practice turning corners (not my best thing) and more practice avoiding dogs, their walkers and other cyclists.

But I started to get frustrated. After 45 minutes of riding, it wasn’t enough to just ride back and forth, over and over again repeating the same route endlessly. I wanted to ride and see new things, new scenery.

On that day, however, I had to settle for an additional 3 mile walk with the dogs. Not bad….but not pedalling…

Ahhhh…..but Sunday…

August 4, 2011

So THAT’S how it’s done!

Filed under: Cycletta — by carolspage @ 19:43
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Thank you all for your fine weather wishes – the rain stopped long enough for me to get in some riding this evening.

We spent 45 minutes riding around a section of the 3 mile  cycle path. I’ve learned to start pedalling (without falling over), go around corners (without falling over) and stop (all together now….without falling over). I can’t tell you what it does for my confidence to not have to be picked up off the ground twice for each meter I pedal!

We even went down a hill….a BIG hill….and it was curvy….very curvy…..and I went really fast, so fast I nearly took off!

Well, that’s how fast it felt, anyway.  The reality is that in a race between me and a snail I’d probably have come a close second.

Then we had to go back UP the hill….the BIG hill.

I started, I pedalled…well, I tried to pedal. I stopped.

A word of advice to the beginners reading this – never stop on a hill!

Because that means you need to start on a hill.

And this is not good.

I tried many times to get going and failed.

It was at this point, while I was standing with my bike on the hill, trying to catch my breath that a young girl of about 4 years old came round the corner, along with mum and dad and Jack Russell terrier.

When the little girl saw me, she stopped dead and put both  hands over her mouth, as if she was trying not laugh.

She finally took her hands away from her mouth, looked at me with a big grin lighting up her face, and gave me her sagest piece of advice.

“You have to pedal!” she said.

Yes, I do, Petunia. Yes, I do.

Rain, rain, go away…

Filed under: Cycletta — by carolspage @ 14:10
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It’s raining today and it must stop.

I’ve been working with my trainer, who has been helping me get fit for Cycletta, and today is The Day.

It is The Day That We Go Out Riding Together.

I’ve ridden this lovely bicycle in bits’n’pieces, here and there, to and fro, fore and aft.  But I’ve not ridden.

Today I will.

There is a 5k cycle/footpath that begins behind the Fitness First gym that I go to and today I ride that.

Which means that the rain must stop.

Say it with me?

“Rain, rain, go away…..rain, rain, go away…..rain, rain, go away…..”

July 31, 2011

I ride on my own!!

I received an email from Ged at Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative telling me that the bike was ready for collection – woohoo! We went on Friday to collect the bike and once again the staff were helpful and encouraging.

I took the bike out for a spin for the first time today and what a difference it makes, being able to keep my feet on the ground!  We went around the way to a cycle path and I was able to start riding, WITHOUT anyone holding on, right away. What fun!

My husband said he thought I’d found my inner 7 year old – that’s about how old I felt.

I could pedal on my own! Wheeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Just so you know – the ‘vroom-vroom’ sound you hear is a motorcycle travelling on the nearby road, it is not me breaking the sound barrier on my bike!)


And another bike appears…

Shortly after my first tentative foray into pedalling, our corporate fundraiser Pete came to tell me that he had received a positive response to one of his initial calls to area bicycle shops.

Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative had agreed to donate a bicycle for me to train on and use to take part in Cycletta in order to raise money for St Luke’s (Cheshire) Hospice! Pete took me to their store in Manchester and we met with Andy, who had been tasked with finding out what size bike I required.

Here is Andy introducing me to the Revolution Streetfinder Women’s bike, which is the model of bike being donated. As you can see – my feet touch the ground. [sigh of relief]

Andy determined which size frame I needed and he talked me through the gears and other features of the bike.  He will send this information off to Edinburgh and then they will make the bike I will be using. It should be ready for collection in about a week. I can’t wait!

By the time I left, I felt much more confident about my ability to complete the Cycletta course, thanks to the guidance and encouragement offered by the staff. They’re the best!

July 28, 2011

“…like riding a bike…”

Filed under: Cycletta — by carolspage @ 14:51
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There was one slight hitch to my plans to take part in Cycletta – I didn’t have a bike. This would make it difficult to do any kind of training.

So the fundraising team came up with a plan of action and Pete, our corporate fundraiser and a keen cyclist himself, started making phone calls.

In the meantime a bicycle had appeared in one of our hospice shops.  It had been owned by a woman who attended the Complementary Therapy Clinic at St Luke’s a few years ago. Her parents had decided to donate the bike to St Luke’s and it arrived in our Interiors shop the day after I registered for Cycletta.  It is a ladies mountain bike and it is pink!

I took it out for a spin a couple of days later.  I made sure that my husband had his camera ready so that I could post pictures to this blog (and maybe a little video) of my first foray on a bike in 40 years. After all, they say you never forget how to ride a bike…

You will notice that there are no such pictures, or any such video, in this blog entry.

That is because it is impossible to use a camera when both of your hands are occupied holding your wife up on a bike.

I was ready – I had my helmet on and I was straddling the bike, ready to push off.

And I couldn’t do it.

I could not sit on the bike and keep my feet on the ground. This meant that I had to stand on the pedals to get onto the seat. And when I stood on the pedals, the bike moved.

I was terrified. I just couldn’t do it.

I desperately wanted the ONE thing this lovely bike didn’t have – training wheels!

Eventually I managed to get on the bike with my husband holding it up for me, so I could be certain that I wouldn’t fall. (Yes, I am a scaredy cat.)

I spent the next 90 minutes pedalling very gingerly, with my husband running alongside holding me up. (Just picture someone teaching a young child how to ride….you’ll get the picture.)

By the end I actually managed to ride a bit without anyone holding on  – yea!

Of course, then there is the problem of getting off the bike.  Every time I put the brakes on I panicked thinking I was just going to fall over. My brain understood that all I had to was put a foot out and I wouldn’t fall, but my legs insisted on trying to get me completely off of the bike. Every single time one foot would get caught on the cross bar and then I really would fall.

My husband – lovely man that he is – caught me every single time.

I think this is going to take a little longer than expected…

Next….another bike appears…

July 26, 2011

I said I’d do WHAT?

Filed under: Cycletta — by carolspage @ 22:48
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Last week I found myself on a bicycle for the first time in 40 years…yes, that’s 40….4-0….forty years.

You see, I quite unexpectedly committed to taking part in a cycling event.  It’s called Cycletta and it’s new – its aim is to get more women in the UK into cycling and, for me at least, it’s worked.  I’m not entirely sure how….

I have vague memories of the fundraisers at St Luke’s (Cheshire) Hospice (where I work) saying it was too bad that they couldn’t do it as a relay team because it looked such a good event. I also remember hearing a voice pipe up and say “I’ll do it – the whole thing!”

I thought – wow! Now there’s someone with ambition!

And then I realised that the voice had actually been mine…

Why did I say it?

I don’t have a clue.  The last time I pedaled was when I was 7 and John Mason knocked me off my bike.  I decided at that moment that I was better off on two legs than two wheels. I’ve also been a committed couch potato for much of my life, so I’m overweight and out of shape. There is absolutely no reason on earth I should be doing this – but I am.

Not only am I doing this – but I am excited to be doing this!

I’ve been working with a trainer, Tom Kearney, for a few months now and apparently I have decided that it’s time to push myself to see what I can do.

Tom has worked out a training programme to get me ready to cycle for 40k – oh, didn’t I mention that?  Yes, the event is 40k…That’s one kilometer for every year I’ve NOT ridden a bike – that translates to 24+ miles.  But Tom says that this will be ‘the making of me’….hmmmm…now THAT sounds like it’s gonna hurt!

Next….the bike appears…

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