This year I decided to sign up for the Ride Reigate 100k, which is taking place in July. I’ve not really done too much cycling prior to this, so it’s putting me far outside my comfort zone. So far I have some very bruised knees and sore legs, but feel like there’s been some solid life lessons. I thought I’d share my musings with you, even if you don’t cycle you might be compelled to do so, or enjoy laughing at the amount of times I’ve fallen off. Either way enjoy the read and let me know your thoughts!
We need to be much more patient behind the wheel
This is the main reason I didn’t want to road cycle, and I think it would be echoed by a lot of other people! Let’s face it, you’re really exposed on a bike and have to have your wits about you. The first handful of times on the bike, I just couldn’t believe how impatient drives were being. But, I have to admit I likely have been that person previously. Now I’m more confident on a bike, the cars don’t bother me, instead of getting flustered at a junction I just ignore them and take my time! We go about our lives rushing around, and it’s very easy to forget the people around us. I’ve since been making a very conscious effort to be much more aware when I drive, but also in my day-to-day life.
Learning a new sport tests you
Road cycling, and in particular building up the mileage is very new to me. It surprised me what learning a new sport was like! From getting the right equipment to building a new level of fitness. I’ve spent so much time training in a way that was familiar to me, I forgot how it can be daunting to be completely new to something. I’ve even found myself not wanting to join other groups, in fear I’d not be fast enough. But, it’s true that practice builds confidence. So if you’ve been putting off trying something new, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just dip your toe in the waters and see where it takes you!
You don’t have to get a plane for a change of scenery
When I go for a run, it’s very easy to stick to your local area. But with cycling, to get the miles needed you travel further. By default you see some beautiful sights, and travel to areas you might not have before. It’s been really nice to head out on the weekend to a new place! Whilst I’m not committing to giving up my holidays abroad, it’s woken me up to what’s on my doorstep.
Don’t forget to stretch
With any new form of movement, you’re using a different group of muscles. So it’s very likely you’re going to feel sore, prepare yourself. My foam roller has become my best friend, as has daily stretching. I’ve heard so many cyclist complaining about their body aching, and for good reason – it’s tough! But that’s even more of a reason to keep on top of your mobility and stretching, because without that you’re going to leave yourself at a much higher risk of injury. I’ve tried to spend about 10-15 minutes each day, but if you’re pushed for time one day just favour the area you feel most tightness.