I started this blog to share my love of cycling, bikes and the life-changing experience that so many are now enjoying as they return to cycling in middle age, or later.
I’m not a lifelong cyclist. Rather, I’m a stop-starter. One of my earliest memories of cycling didn’t involve a bicycle at all, but a purple tricycle. I must have been about four years old and despite the trike’s fundamental disposition towards stability, I still managed to fall off regularly.
As a child and teenager, I think that I nearly always owned a bike. I remember that I sometimes cycled the five miles to school and back, until my parents decided that it was making me ‘too tired’ and insisted I take the bus. At weekends I used my bicycle as a means of escape to the countryside around Bristol, UK. Then I left home for university. And left cycling for over 20 years.
My first re-introduction to the bicycle came in 1998 when I was persuaded by a friend, Hans Nilsson, to attempt the famous Vatternrundan in Sweden, which claims to be the longest recreational ride in the world. I trained, did the ride, then gave up cycling again, not least because we moved from Bristol to Bath where the hills challenge even the fittest enthusiasts.
In 2008, I decided that rising blood pressure, excess weight and general lethargy were taking their toll. I bought one new bike, and then another (you always need more than one) and started cycling again. In 2012, I reached my 60th birthday and covered more miles by bicycle than I had in the previous three years combined.
I’m now fortunate to own a small collection of bikes with frames dating from 1948 to 2010. The vintage models ride almost as well as the latest ones, at least for my kind of cycling, and probably represent much better value than the more modern machines. I’ve learned all over again most of what I knew at the age of ten about repairing and building bicycles and, whilst I’ll never be an expert, playing at being a bike mechanic gives me a lot of pleasure – almost as much as cycling in Wiltshire.
The first post in this blog summarises my most memorable rides of 2012 and I’ve decided that from now on I’ll record my cycling musings and events here as they happen…before I forget them. I hope they provide some amusement for you if you stumble across these ramblings.