My parents bought me a bike for Christmas when I was about 4. That’s a long time ago now but I do remember it was red and it had stabilisers. I rode it up and down the street, my father holding on to it and running behind me for a while, then I was on my own and shortly after, the stabilisers were removed. That’s about all I remember about the bike except for the time I ran away and took it with me. I only ran to the lane behind the house. I’m pretty sure I didn’t actually run as that is not really my style. I also remember doing my cycling proficiency certificate when I was in Mr Williams’s class in junior school when I would have been about 8. I didn’t like Mr Williams. Not that there was anything specifically wrong with him but he liked the sporty types and I was never going to be one of them. Nonetheless, I passed the certificate and then I never used my bike again.
When I went to Uni, I bought a second hand Raleigh Shopper for 20 pounds. I used it to cycle back and for to the campus from the halls of residence with my rucksack of books in the basket at the front. It served its purpose. It had 3 gears but was stuck in second so I never experienced changing gears on a bike. I don’t recall precisely what happened to it but as soon as I started on attachments in hospitals around Birmingham it went the way of all flesh and was never seen again.
My current bike was purchased at Hedgehog Bikes in Onehunga about 8-9 years ago. I had good intentions to use it regularly, get into cycling and fit at the same time. It didn’t happen. It’s moved house with me twice and accummulated dust and cobwebs along the way. It can’t be ridden as the tyres are flat and I have no pump but also because it appears to have a lot of gears and I have absolutely no idea what to do with them. Then there are the brakes. Someone helpfully told me you only pull the back one. Well then, why is there a front one? And how do I tell which is the front and which is the back? See, I’ve never understood this phrase, “it’s like riding a bike” to imply something is easy. Actually, it’s confusing. Well, it is for me anyway.
So, how on earth will I cycle for 468 kms in 8 days? In the heat and humidity? In lycra? With people I don’t know? Possibly up and down hills? I have no answers other than it seemed like a good idea at the time…
Here’s a video of me attempting (and failing) to explain my total loss of mind which lead to making such a crazy decision and another of me showing you my bike. I should explain that, not surprisingly, I have yet to master the use of the phone as a video. I also have no idea why the previews are sideways but the videos themselves seem ok.