If you’ve been following along you’ll know that I’ve been trying to improve my health over the last eighteen months or so with a good diet and regular exercise, which usually includes two visits a week to the gym, regular walking, constructive use of my break times, and the odd longer hike.
I find it’s important to have a good amount of variation in my fitness routine to stop boredom creeping in, and so the more activities I can do, to change things up, the better. The next thing I’d like to add in, now I’m getting a bit fitter, is cycling.
My kids are 8 and 10 and have just started riding their bikes more confidently down the park, so it’s an excellent opportunity for us to go out as a family and do something fun, that is also good for us. The weather is starting to improve and just down the road the Peak District has a lot of great cycle tracks. So we want to go out on family trips trail riding and I also want to replace some of my daily walks with local cycle rides.
But I haven’t got a bike!
When I was a kid I used to ride a lot. I had various bikes, usually second hand or even built using old bike frames that my dad picked up at the tip – I remember you could just climb over the rubbish tip back then and pick up the stuff you wanted and take it home! Sometimes they were a bit too big for me, or old-fashioned, but I always had a bike of some description and I rode them far and wide.
Unfortunately, things have changed a lot for kids, they don’t have the freedom I had when I was their age and the only way they will get out regularly on their bikes is if we come with them.
When I was around twelve or thirteen I got my first new bike for my birthday, a full size Falcon touring bike in limited edition sparkly “plum”. I went to the shop and chose the bike, waited for it to be delivered and built, and rode it home. I loved that bike, and rode it to school for a couple of years until I just stopped riding as I moved on to other teenage things. I had the bike around for a good while after that but never rode it much and eventually just left it along the way somewhere. That was twenty years ago. That was my last bike.
And the same is true for my wife, neither of us have bikes and we can’t continue to run up and down alongside the kids in the park much longer – two new bikes are required!
It seems bikes have changed quite a bit in the last 35 years! Aluminium frames, suspension, disc brakes, hybrids, quick fire gear levers, there’s a lot more choice than there used to be and they’re available across a wide range of budgets.
We’ve managed to find a couple of really nice bikes from Halfords, not right at the bottom end, but not too expensive. I’ve gone for a mountain bike and Sam has gone for a hybrid. We’ve got lightweight frames, front suspension, easy fire gears, and I’ve even got disk brakes!
It’s very exciting, as I say I haven’t had a bike for twenty years and I can’t wait to pick it up and start adding some cycling into my life again.
Update: Picked up my new bike a few days ago and I’m already enjoying riding it (see above photo of bike leaning against the railings of Redmires Reservoirs), and it’s made me realise I still have a long way to go fitness wise!