Monday, June 17, 2013

A forgotten joy.

Fact you may not know about me; I only got my drivers licence when I was 28 after failing it badly as a 17 year old - there's a story, it involves a maths class laughing at me, a school fence pole, a nose of a car, some swearing and a policeman swapping seats with me after I made him.  It also involves an insurance issue, and my parents.

Anyhoo, after being that badly scarred, I took to my bike for the next 12 years.  I biked to uni, I biked to holiday jobs, I biked to friends houses, boyfriends houses.  I biked in the morning and at night.   And when I got myself a husband I also got myself a drivers licence and a mountain bike, and took to the tracks like a woman possessed, until I lost both my husband and my nerve for steep, rocky tracks.   A new life, a new husband, three kids and a big SUV, my old rusty mountain bike came along for the ride.  And when my husband discovered a passion for mountain biking, I sighed and gave it a short half hearted attempt, before I decided I would rather run the tracks than ride them.

Yet when a passion for mountain biking evolved to road riding for my husband, I signed up with him, imagining a retirement of biking holidays and a future "thing" that wasn't as sedentary as golf.  But I didn't feel quite as at home on skinny tyres and cleets and narrow handle bars, but I kept going, and discovered that once I got going, 200 metres up the road I was in love with the feel of riding again.  A marathon got in the way of any riding and my encouraging biking buddies stopped asking me out, because they'd heard the excuses.  Yes they knew I was nervous, yes they knew I didn't like the clip on shoe thingees, and yes they knew I was scared of the Wakehurst Parkway.  But surely I could just get over myself rather than making excuses.  My words, not theirs.

A revelation came unhappily to me recently - I have to learn how to ride my road bike again - shit happens.  I will do it.

But then I had a good revelation - you see, all I want to do is ride, I like riding, I feel fearless, and fast, and free, and young again.  So I've asked for a second bike for my birthday, one without clips, with slightly wider handle bars, slightly less skinny tyres.  And not one that will look fierce or that I can throw myself down mountains on...

....but one that I can do this on.

Because that's all I really want to do.

What have you stopped doing that you really want to do again?  It's not too late ....


  1. I lived on a bike till I learnt to drive at 25 (similar failure of three driving tests), coincidentally the same year I learnt to ride a horse. Haven't done a lot of riding for the last 10 years and frankly the roads scare the bejebus out of me. But I do love the feeling of the freedom of being on a bike, if only I didn't have to wear the stupid helmet!

  2. When I was about 13, I fell off my bike (they hadn't invented helmets "back then", I got concussion and lost 24 hours of my life. And that was on a kids bike going about zero kms per hour. And since then I am a bike helmet zealot! Thanks Becci, do you still ride your horse?

  3. I love riding bikes and horses too. I also want to learn to run. The freedom of being outside with the sun warming your body and the breeze in your hair. There's nothing like it. I haven't forgotten the joy. I just have to make space in my life to do these things that make me really happy. And I am definitely working on it. :)