Sunday, 7 April 2013

What this blog is about ...

About me:

I am retired, and the only period in my life when I rode a bike regularly was when I was eight to nine years old, and riding my bike to school in the Netherlands. Since then I have only bicycled once or twice for an hour or so on a rented bike.

I live in Wellington, New Zealand, which is a very hilly city, very different from the lovely flat and bike-friendly Netherlands. I never thought I would ever want to cycle here in Wellington.

My husband John was for many years a keen cyclist, cycling to work, hurtling down steep hills and climbing back up at the end of the day. However, after surgery for a brain tumour which left him with a balance problem, he didn’t cycle for over twelve years. I wouldn’t let him. I was worried he would fall, and/or be hit by a car or truck.

Then, a few months ago, he decided to get back into it. He didn’t fall over, and in fact the cycling has improved his balance. However, the hills were still a bit of a problem, so he bought a folding bike, one that he could stick in the car and drive to where he could ride on the flat, and preferably on dedicated cycle tracks.

One day he came home from riding part of the Hutt Valley River Trail, 30 kilometres of attractive, flat, well-maintained track, and suggested that I could easily do that too. Though I have lived in Wellington for over forty years, when it comes to hills, I staunchly maintain that I am a “flatlander” – I don’t like climbing them, not on foot, and certainly not on a bike. But it seemed to me that if I could ride on the flat, it would be a fun thing to do together. Once we started casting around for flat places to ride, it is surprising how many we found.

Result: we bought another bike, for me. I am now the proud owner of a brand-new Giant Expressway 2 folding bike.

So this is where my blog begins – with my adventure of getting back on a bike as a “senior”. I hope to write about my experiences and about the tracks or trails we have ridden on.

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I have certain requirements that will limit my capacity – initially at least.

  • I have painful thumb joints, which mean I cannot comfortably lean on my hands, so I insisted I needed a “sit-up-and-beg” bike.
  • I do not like riding on gravel – it is slippery, hard work and it hurts my hands (and my tail!).
  • And I don’t like hills – being a flatlander and all.
These are all good reasons to challenge myself. And over the next few months, with regular rides, I hope to overcome my dislike of gravel and hills, improve my fitness, and find solutions for my sore hands and tail.