Barry The Bike
He’s been sat in my shed for seven years until this summer.
I re-homed the various spiders who’d moved into Barry’s nooks and crannies and took him to Crucial BMX for a service.
For just under £80 – a new chain, pumped up tyres and a good oiling – Barry is back on the road.
The mechanic at Crucial did a great job. And I found myself cruising around the cool accessories in the shop thinking about how I could pimp my bike!
When Does Cycling Become Fun?
I had these happy little daydreams about breezing along, enjoying the wind in my hair, getting around Bristol quickly and easily, while carrying all my gubbins in the basket.
A lovely thought.
“On your bike!”
The reality = a battle of wills!
Me, verses Barry, verses the hills of Bristol!
People actually do this for fun?
I’m not going to beat about the bush here, so far, getting back on a bike has quite simply, sucked!
The worst part is getting going.
Every time I stop it’s a mammoth effort to get going again. And I’m stopping – or slowing down – every few yards: for pedestrians, dogs, vehicles, other cyclists, zebra crossings, Traffic Lights, roads to cross and countless other obstacles.
Don’t even get me started on my painful posterior! My coccyx will never be the same again.
I’m not gonna lie, it’s tough, it’s bloody tough.
In my 40’s, I’m the most unfit I have ever been.
Every yard I’m pushing, and panting, and sweating, and struggling.
Cycling, Then and Now
I have a happy memory, my first ever bike. What it looked like is vague and there are no pictures of me on it.
What I do remember is the first-ever feeling of real freedom.
I remember the sense of achievement when dad removed the stabilisers (training wheels for American readers!).
Suddenly, I could speed off on my own.
I don’t ever remember it being as tiring or aching as much when I was little!
With the perspective and experience of an adult, I know there would have tough moments on my bike as a kid. There must have been hills and other obstacles. I was the kind of kid who always had scabby knees anyway, but there must have been injuries – we all get a bit cocky when we’re excited about something new.
When we look back at things, it’s easy to forget the tough moments. It’s the fun parts we like to remember most fondly.
Bikes and Business
The experience of getting back on my bike after so long shares many of the feelings and ups and downs I’ve been on in my business. At the time of writing this, I’ve been self-employed for coming up to five years.
The motivation that drives me to do this is to feel and live in that sense of freedom.
To know I am master of my own destiny.
Be my own boss.
Keep the money I earn (after tax and bills, of course).
Having the flexibility to plan my week – I can run my errands, like grocery shopping, in the week when it’s quieter and spend all the quality weekend and evening time I can with my husband, friends and family.
I can be there for friends and relatives when they need me.
Get to choose who I will and won’t work with and what I will and won’t do.
If it’s a sunny day, I can choose to go out for the day and enjoy it (with or without Barry).
That feeling of freedom: speeding downhill, no effort, no peddling, just controlling the breaks so you don’t fall off.
Then you reach a hill…. You have to get up that dam hill if you want to speed down the other side of it.
Some days the sun is shining and the going is flat and flowing. Other days it’s hammering with rain, miserable and hilly. But even on a wet day, every uphill has a downhill.
Whether it’s manoeuvering a bike or getting stuck into a task, the hardest part is getting going.
But no matter what, you HAVE TO START.
If you want to coast down that hill, enjoying the speed, freedom and fresh feel on your face you need to build up the momentum to get there.
You have to climb that hill, negotiate that obstacle, weave your way through, slow down when necessary so you don’t crash and hurt yourself or someone else.
Freedom is the best feeling in the world, it’s always worth the effort!
Stuck at an obstacle and need help to get going?