First proper bike ride in more years than I care to remember

It’s true that once you learn to ride a bike you never forget. I first learnt when I was a child. I remember my dad holding the back of my saddle as I rode up and down the road learning to balance. No stabilisers, that I can remember. I passed my cycling proficiency test whilst at junior school.

My favourite bike was the one I had for many years while my children were young. It was a Raleigh Cameo (see photo I found, below), a good old fashioned sit-up-and-beg style with 3 Stermy Archer gears, a basket on the front, a good saddle, and a child’s seat on the back.

Raleigh Cameo Bicycle

I remember once we rode from Burton to Ashbourne (and back again) with the older daughter on a seat on her dad’s crossbar and the younger daughter on the seat on the back of mine. In those days the seat had open sides, not the well constructed ones of today. It was only when my daughter was an adult that I learnt how frightened she felt while I boldly cycled here and ther with her on the back.

Child seat -like the one I had

I also remember loading the bike up with cases and bags as I went to hold Tupperware parties! By then then child seat had been replaced with panniers.

The bike I have now was bought in 2005 when I moved to Shropshire. It has 6 gears, a basket on the front but is not as comfortable to ride as my old one. I rode it quite a lot around the parish. However, we bought a dog which meant I rode my bike less for exercise as I had a dog to walk. When I moved to the Black Country and found myself in a very urban setting, the bike languished in the garage, not ridden.

Now I am in the countryside, I have decided it is time to get back on my bike. My colleague has kindly made it roadworthy. I’ve been out on it a couple of times, cycling round the village and round JCB Lake.

Today, my day off, I decided to go for a proper bike ride round the lanes. I plotted a route, knowing there would be some hills but not quite remembering how many.

I had to get off and push quite a lot. I also applied the brakes quite a bit on the downhill stretches. I was a bit wary of going too fast and having an accident. The downside of that of course is that I lost momentum for getting up the next hill which invariably followed a downward hill.

I was pleased I did it and enjoyed the views. Much better than walking in this hot weather. I hope I make time for more rides in the weeks to come, and that my leg muscles improve so I can get up the hills.

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