You know that thing about it being like riding a bike? Half true.
I think it’s been about 15 years since I rode a bike.Well apart from a brief weekend at Centre Parcs four years ago where I was left with a numb arse and no real desire to repeat the experience.
It’s certainly been forever since I rode on a road. Largely because traffic in Sheffield is mental.
But car parking charges, petrol and my lack of waistline made me rethink. My husband cycles. People in Sheffield cycle. What’s wrong with me?
I bought a bike.
I stood for thirty minutes in a well respected bike shop in Sheffield with cash in my pocket. I was completely ignored for the whole time while both of the only two members of staff on a Saturday afternoon discussed a very expensive bike with a customer who was clearly going to go home and try and buy one on Ebay. The difference was she cared about suspension and gave them the opportunity to show off. I wanted the cheapest bike they sold that would get from a to, well, b. I’m not trying to enter the Tour De France or anything.
So I took my money to Edinburgh Bicycle Company. It only took five minutes there before someone realised I needed help and I rather bluntly stated that I had £300 and five minutes to buy a bike to get me to work. I bought the cheapest bike in the shop. Everyone was happy.
It was only when I went to pick it up a few days later that the commitment I had made hit me. This wasn’t going to be all that easy. Obviously I knew I wouldn’t have forgotten how to ride a bike, but I live off Abbeydale Road and even at 2.30pm the traffic is challenging.
I wobbled round the car park and cycled to the curb. I got off and walked it quite a long way up the road. I waved at some staff from work playing football and tried to pretend there was some reason why I had a bike but chose not to ride it. I was unconvincing.
Around the corner I braced myself and pulled out. Apparently I had gears. It was just a shame the one I was in was not the best for setting off in traffic. I tried to look like I knew what I was doing and deceived no-one. There is no bus lane at 2.30 so I wobbled and weaved around parked cars in fourth gear while frantically trying to work out how to change down and what on earth that other lever was for.
I got off again and crossed the road at the pedestrian crossing.
I didn’t feel terribly confident so it was a while before I got back on the bike and set off up Carterknowle Road. Which is far too steep. I got off again.
A bin lorry filled the road so I decided to cycle on the pavement. Which is clearly illegal. I ran out of puff. I got off and walked home.
But you know what? You have to start somewhere. In my case I started half a mile from my house and mostly walked.