Tuesday, 18 August 2009

My protege

When I started cycling A and A2 were vital to my development. Their continued encouragement and praise kept me going when I was exhausted and made me feel like I could continue to improve.

I've cycled in with A several times and A2 came with me to Bognor. I knew I was never alone and even when I got my first solo puncture I was able to ring A, who gave me phone support throughout and gave me lots of positive reinforcement when I got to work. Now I feel I am able to pass this help on.

S works with me so has heard me extolling the virtues of cycling and telling all and sundry how much I love it. I shouldn't have been surprised, therefore, when she announced her intention to get a bike. A couple of months ago she made good on this and has been pedalling around South Ealing on weekends. Despite not cycling in many years and having no idea which brake was which and how the gears worked, she persevered and this morning we cycled into work.

She lives about halfway from my house to work and I know the area well as it's where my dad was in hospital following the stroke. In fact, it felt a bit weird going that route again. But I digress.

We set off using the A4 cycle path and walked the nastier bits, like the Chiswick roundabout and the last section coming into Hammersmith. S did well and didn't wobble once. She signalled, looked behind with increasing frequency and refused to let the noise and bustle of the Chiswick High Road get her down. We negotiated a nasty set of road works and sailed into Hammersmith a good 20 minutes before work starts.

True we went slowly and cautiously, true we overtook just one bus in the whole journey but we didn't ride on the pavement, go through any red lights or break the Highway Code and I tell you what, a lot of other cyclists did.

What put the icing on the cake though was that apparently the tube is up the spout this morning. Mwahahahhahahaha!


  1. I did do rather well, didn't I *preens*

    You forgot to mention I also didn't know how to stop the bike when I started cycling ;) "Oh look! That looks like a nice place to tip over!"

  2. Awesome! and well done Stephanie! I wish I could persuade my colleagues to try cycling to work (but apparently it's really dangerous, not like driving a car which is such a safe activity that thousands of people die every year doing it. Argh.)

  3. We have a few bike buddies registered at work to help people get in but, unfortunately, apart from route requests Stephanie's our first real success. We're trying to organise a get together soon in the hope that knowing the buddies will encourage people to approach them for help.

  4. I think that will help a lot. I wouldn't have felt confident if it weren't for the fact that you're on my floor and were 'obviously' a new cyclist once upon a time.

    If you take some vague mysterious shadow of an experienced cyclist, it's harder to go to them for help, because you don't want to look silly, or 'hold them back' if they're cycling along with you.

    For my part, I'm just extremely grateful for the help this morning - I felt good and very confident. I'm sure it'll be a different story when I solo it! :D

    P.S. Lizzy, maybe you should try showing them how short a distance it is? That was the kicker for me - the realisation that I'm paying £70 a month to walk to work in the opposite direction and then be sardined to work with more time taken in total. I REALLY want to stop that.

  5. Found your blog and am glad to see people encouraging each other to cycle. I am involved with an ambassador scheme in Richmond that mirrors your experiences and gives cyclists and their buddies rewards for cycling around. Details here Richmond Cycle Ambassador Scheme. Most borough councils offer free or subsidised cycle training, I know Richmond does. Keep cycling!

  6. Glad to see others are doing the buddy thing. My company network has volunteers but no one seems to be using them, any top tips for recruiting people?