It’s been a long time since I last blogged. A very long time.
What stopped me? What stopped me riding my bike for over a year?
The fear factor.
Having got hit by a car in Claygate, Surrey when working for Sigma Sports, got hit by a pedestrian and a car whilst riding to Herne Hill then stacking it going downhill through Cobham; it took a while to build up.
Gradually I rode my bike less. Took the car too often. I tried to race cx a couple times whilst injured/ ill. Wasn’t happening. That coupled with depression and anxiety took it’s toll.
I won’t try and guess what people thought, it’s all in the past now. But the snidey comments, unwillingness to be inclusive of a lot of people took it’s toll.
I guess I was living in a cage of fear of my own making inside my head. Took a while to realise that. Took a while to realise that not every person is a decent human being. A lot of people quote the “be kind” mantras doing the rounds on Facebook or Insta without truly understanding what kindness is.
I stopped wanting to ride my bike. Realised that I was never going to measure up to some peoples ideas of me fitting in. Started getting wary of traffic revving behind me. Got even more wary of people around me on bikes. Got scared of riding on my own. The what ifs flying round my brain scared the living fucking hell out of me. They boiled down to a baseline. I don’t want to get hurt.
Fear is a powerful factor.
Try and force me to do something, likely I’ll baulk like a stubborn donkey. Tell me I can’t do something, I’ll prove you wrong.
A chance few words sparked that fire a couple weeks ago.
“But you don’t even ride a bike do you?”
True. I’d pretty much given up. No, wait. I had given up.
Today. Today I wanted to go out. Out came the Cannondale Super Six Evo. Dug through a pile of stuff. Out came the silver Giro road shoes. 30 mins of trying on kit because I couldn’t remember which shorts were the nicest to sit in or which jersey wasn’t too short. Eventually found my Kask helmet and my Lezyne back light. Stuffed stuff in my jersey. Realised when I got home I forgot a mini pump.
Checked tyre pressure. 95 will do today thanks. Speed sensor dead so that came off. Wahoo Elemnt a quick 5 min charge – man alive does it hold it’s charge well! Clipped in rode off.
Quite literally a pootle. Legs protested a little for a minute or two (that’s a first for me!) then stopped to pick up Verity.
A 14 mile social chat ride. Uffington, Shellingford, over the main road, into
Stanford in the Vale and back out and up the main road, turn right to Baulking Grange, then a left toward Kingston Lisle.
Honestly didn’t think I’d get up Common Hill. Just took it steady and actually paced myself. Only died a little in the last fifth of the hill but super chuffed I got up it as easy as I did. Then home for a cuppa.
As soon as I was out riding, the fear went away. Chatting absolute rubbish with my best mate the whole way around.
Maybe. Just maybe. I might go out again tomorrow.
Sorry bikes. I’ve missed you.
P.S I wrote this sat in Costa, still slightly splattered with grease and wearing those amazing funky neon Castelli socks with orange On Running trainers. Haven’t felt this happy in a long time!