If someone had told me I’d be cycling 10 miles to work a year and a half ago, I’d have laughed them out of the building. But sometimes, all you need is a push....
Before getting a bike I knew that exercise existed, but to me it was a mythical and elusive thing, much like the unicorn or the postroom. But an office discussion about the rugby changed everything. Finding out that you weigh the same amount as Jonny Wilkinson is a moving event and it moved me all the way to the bike shop.
Armed with my Ride to Work voucher I was met in Evans by a bouncy young man approximately half my height and with energy to burn. On telling him that the distance to work was 10 miles and that I hadn’t been on a bike in about 10 years, he gave me a long and pitying look. He had assumed I meant the trip was 10 kilometres in total as a round trip. When I told him it was in fact 10 miles each way, his look went from pitying to incredulous.
We tried several bikes with varying success, in that I didn’t fall off some of them. I couldn’t stretch my legs on any of them and some were so flimsy I had to battle not to tip them over. As I was about to give up, he looked over me again. In his words I am “quite big” and he therefore decided it was time to try the men’s bikes. That was when he brought out Roger.
He’s a navy blue Pinnacle Stratus and was the first bike I’d felt safe and stable on. I had found the one, the bike to get me fit and cut my work journey. They sent him off to be tuned up and I prepared to take him home.
The sense of triumph was only marred as I left the shop, when the helpful assistant called after me: “Good luck, and don’t worry. My sister was a big girl too, but she got a bike and now her bottom is much smaller. Maybe the bike will help you as well!”