Well what a difference a bike makes! After reading about my first-time-on-a-road-bike struggle, an old friend Jenny who was in my year at Uni, but who I haven’t seen for years, contacted me to lend her support. Clearly the bike I tried last week, which was very kindly donated, was much too big for me, and frankly I’m slightly surprised I made it home alive.
Jenny is a proper athlete and previous iron man-er, but currently recovering from injury, and has hugely generously donated me a (smaller) road bike, plus about enough (new) other bits and bobs that would enable me to open a small bicycle shop if I so chose.
And so today me, Jamie, Holly and Lola packed up the car and drove to the site of the old Strathkelvin railway path, which takes in much of the Thomas Muir Heritage Trail. This is a lovely cycle path which has been resurfaced, so is free from the multiple hazardous potholes that besmirch much of the roads in East Dunbartonshire, and winds it’s way through the Campsie Fells. We parked in Strathblane and cycled as far as Milton of Campsie and back (you can go further if you choose) which was about 13 miles. Beautiful sunshine, no cars, a soft verge on either side of you in case of mishaps and virtually no one else for miles. And it’s flat.
Not only did this bike fit so much better (I could reach the brakes – Hoorah!) it was relatively comfortable, and I could also just about reach the ground. But here is the truly exciting news – I have successfully learned to cycle with clippy in peddle shoes (also supplied by Jenny), a feat I thought beyond my reach. I say successfully. Clipping into the peddles was a bit easier to get the hang of than freeing myself from their clutches. There were a few minor incidents along the way due to feet-not-coming-out-of-the-peddles-on-time situations, one of which saw me finishing in a stream, much to the huge amusement of Jamie and Holly.
So a massive thank you to Jenny who is letting me use this bike from now until I need to cycle to Skye. As a result of today, I am now a little less anxious about being able to do it, although I would still much prefer it if there was a road with no cars on it between Glasgow and Skye.