So we had talked about it a couple of times and finally, I stirred up the courage to go and get it. It was my brothers mountain bike that he was going to loan me for a month.
After he showed off his light weight racer and my nephews road bike, we went for a ride around the block. It was slow and laborious. It took effort and I was quick to sweat. After a kilometre or so that was enough – I got the idea of what to do.
Back to his garage, a quick lesson on how to take the wheels off and on (which I should have paid more attention to because when I got home it took me an age to get the wheels on again). I then loaded the bike into the car, threw in the spare tube and the took kit, and gone…..
The next afternoon as the sun passed vertical, I dug out some old clothes, put on my runners and the loosest t-shirt I could find, and headed off up the street.
It didn’t take long “This seat is hard. These clothes are uncomfortable. This hill is steep…..”. Retrospectively it was a tiny climb of less than 2% gradient, it went for 600m (1/2 mile) but I was puffing and panting like I had run a marathon.
But for some reason, i enjoyed it. The buzz in the legs. The stretching of the lungs. The thrill of dodging cars. The feeling of free rolling down a hill that reminded me so much of the thousands of hours I had spent on a bike as a kid, and this distances I traveled for fun. Not because I had to. Not because I needed exercise. Just because we needed to get around.
There was something in this and I liked it. So I sat back, had a cigarette and thought “I am going to have to give up this crap if my riding is going to continue”.