Walking became a needful thing for me four years ago when my Ex announced his impending departure from our life together. It became my time; my time to think, to breathe, to revel once again in the simple pleasures of life such as watching wildlife, admiring the bounty that Mother Nature offers up for free, sniffing the flowers so to speak. I rediscovered my love of woods and trees, of flowers, of streams, ponds, lakes, the humble canals. How had I come to abandon such simple pleasures for so long? Walking in effect, saved me, gave me purpose beyond the normal day to day activities we all so often merely endure rather than enjoy.
As my walks became longer and more frequent I often thought how nice it would be to cycle. My thought process was along the lines of being able to cover greater distances but still be able to admire the beauty all around me. My problem was that I knew nothing of bikes and less of actually cycling. Apart from doing silly stuff on the cycles of young children my last ride on a bike was in my early teens. And so, without having access to advice from someone who did know all about bikes and cycling and whom I could trust, my thoughts of purchasing a bike and actually doing some riding were shelved.
Then I met a wonderful man, a keen cyclist and someone I can trust! At the age of 49 and no, I don't mind admitting to age, it is a fact and a number and has no bearing whatsoever on the baggage within and how she feels (there's still a teenager in there fighting like mad to be heard!) I finally purchased a bike last week and have since embarked on what I think may become a rival for my walking!
My first ride consisted of riding around and around some garages. Next came a little excursion around the block so to speak, several times, I even threw in a hill. Method in my madness there, I had never ridden a bike with gears before and so I needed to learn how they worked! I fell off, which for those who know me well, will not come as a surprise as I'm as clumsy as they come, spent many years of my childhood in A&E and/or fracture clinics. The next day I went out with my lovely man for my first proper ride of 9.6 miles and I loved it. The joy of pedalling along, managing the gears and then free-wheeling down hills was unbridled. Realising that it doesn't matter from which direction you approach Aldridge, it involves a climb was not so joyful! On Saturday I went out on my own for the first time and managed 12.25 miles and saw parts of Brownhills I had never known existed along the canal up towards Chasewater and delightful they were too.
My ride on Sunday a mere 5.9 miles did not go so well but I blame myself for pushing a little too hard too soon. This poor experience has not put me off at all. I am looking forward to exploring both on my own and with my partner and I'm also looking forward to putting some miles into my legs and enjoying the simple things so important to me from a slightly different angle. There are new challenges ahead and I embrace them as passionately as I've approached my walking.
The saying goes that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Tosh!