No, not that C-Word… I mean CYCLING. That C-Word.
It may surprise you, but cycling induces mid-way between fear and disgust in me when I try it or even think about trying it. I learnt to ride a bike as a child, my bike was then a small pink one with Barbie printed across it and tassels from the handle bars and it had stabilisers too*. I didn’t get on well with that bike either. I subsequently tried, under great duress, once or twice during secondary school- mostly at summer camps- after falling off a few times I well and truly gave up.
My main problem with bikes is that I have no balance- no balance and a fear of falling off- and I really don’t know why. I feel like the balance thing is tied in with my fear of heights but why on earth my clammy-handed panic should also set in when I have barely a metre to fall amazes me. So then I move to a country where bikes are extremely popular and people are constantly asking me why I’m not cycling. I even get given a free bike! Okay, it’s just barely a bike, it’s old and heavy with barely functioning breaks, no lights and fairly busted handle bars, but it goes…after a fashion. And I completely ignore said bike, lock it in the garage and get on with walking everywhere; walking I love, I do a lot of it every day, so that’s just fine. But pretty soon I decided enough was enough- I’ve got to relearn to ride.
Yes, it’s pretty embarrassing to be 20 and terrified of falling of a tiny little bike, and that’s before I’ve even started pedalling. I got on, amid minor tantrums and panicked squealing (the kind you get when you throw a child on a horse and it really doesn’t like it), and tried wiggling that bike all the way to town. And somehow, god knows how, I managed to make it in one piece. Now the real learning starts…
I’ve set myself the challenge of riding my bike at least twice a week. Now every time I ride it my legs just buuuurn, because those are muscles I haven’t used in a long time (I haven’t even been spinning in about 10months because I don’t have a gym pass in this country), but I should definitely see that as a positive thing. I’m enjoying the challenge of working new muscles and learning a new skill- even if I find it quite scary. And technically this means I have embarked on one of my new years’ resolutions, to take up a new sport, not that I’m capable of any kind of sport-y cycling yet, but I’m starting with the basics, and using it as functionally as possible to persuade myself to keep it up.
I will keep posting updates on my C-Word endeavours as I progress- is anyone else trying a new sport/exercise at the moment? Let me know, I’d love to hear about it! Also any tips for beginner’s cycling? It’s a baby step, but I’m pretty proud of this 20 year old scaredy cat.
*On a quick deviation, I think stabilisers are a terrible idea, I don’t know if they‘ve actually fallen out of fashion to use for Training Your Child 101 these days, but they seem to have and I’m glad- they don’t help, it’s definitely easier just to learn to ride a normal bike and avoid having to learn twice, once with stabilisers and once when they’re removed.