And it begins!

I decided to take Lex (my lovely new bike) home for Christmas and put the days there to good use. I haven’t been riding much of late due to getting hit by a car on the way home from work (damage: broken little finger, bruises, damaged headset, damaged confidence) and having no time at all in the run-up to xmas.

I set off on Christmas Eve-Eve, with all my presents in a hiking rucksack. I got to the top of my street before the thought hit me that this was ABSOLUTE MADNESS. I couldn’t look up because my bag hit against my helmet. My body was being dragged backwards by the weight of my bag (about 30kg) so I could hardly reach the brakes. Ah fuck it, I thought, if I can get to Elephant then I can take a cab from there. And once I made it to Elephant I decided to get to London Bridge. And then to Bank. And then to work. The relief on arriving at work and taking that bag off my back was incredible. Part 2 of the journey was easier, just to the station to get the train to my parents, although I admitted defeat and walked the last bit as I didn’t fancy getting crushed at the King’s Cross junction of death. All in all, it wasn’t the best way to test out a new bike!

Christmas Eve was spent cooking and cuddling children, so the next opportunity to ride was Christmas Day itself. My brother, who has 3 Eddy Merckx bikes, lent a bike to my bikeless brother, and the three of us headed out for a quick spin. Riding Lex at long last was great, with the only downside being that I toppled over in a record-breaking 5 seconds of putting my foot in the clips.

Today I chomped my way through an entire box of Celebrations while sitting about in my pyjamas, before feeling disgusted with myself and going out on Lex. I did a loop through the nearby villages, past an alpaca farm and various other exciting Fenland landmarks. The Fens are incredibly windy, with nothing to break the wind, which wasn’t particularly enjoyable, but I felt better for taking a break from eating my weight in chocolate. Excitingly I have joined Strava, so I can track my rides. I’m planning something fun for tomorrow.

In all, the verdict is that my new bike is TOTES AMAZE (I am ignoring the pain in my arm where I fell off).

Oh the weather outside is frightful…

As the BBC weatherman announced last night, with an unmistakable note of glee in his voice, winter is here! This is good news for London Zoo’s penguins, British Gas and for cyclists. One of the most annoying thing about cycling is trying to find somewhere to lock your bike when out and about, even if your criteria are only that it should be vaguely safe and have some kind of street lighting so you can unlock it without dropping your keys down a manhole at the end of the evening. In summer, all the fair-weather cyclists dust down their bikes and start hogging all the bike racks, leaving me to cycle around in circles looking for somewhere to lock up, muttering under my breath. But winter – ah, winter is for the real cyclists! I love waking up and seeing frost on the window as it means I will be able to lock my bike up.

Today it is about 7 degrees: sunny but cold. This is my favourite cycling weather as it’s cold enough to put people off, but it’s not icy (not safe) and not wet (miserable). But winter cycling takes some preparation. Today I left the house wearing:

– 2 pairs of tights
– Socks
– Fur lined boots
– Thermal top
– Dress
– Cardigan
– Padded coat
– Buff headwear (
– Fleece hat
– Enormous woolly scarf
– Ski gloves
– Helmet!

It does add additional time on to my commute but it’s well worth it to arrive being able to feel my fingers AND my toes.