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Bike: Specialized Dolce Sport
Where: Bath, Wiltshire
Status: Scaredy cat turned tiger mum
grew up in the Scottish Borders. when I was seven or eight my parents
bought a couple of Raleigh racers and got my sister and I into cycling
at weekends. It was a fun family thing to do, it kept us all fit and I
have great memories of having to work hard to get up some of the steep
With the events of this summer, I thought it would be good to get back into cycling and encourage my three children to get involved. In June I rode the 30-mile Bike Bath charity sportive on my old heavy Halfords £60 lady’s shopper special.
It wasn’t ideal, but I had caught the cycling bug again, and then the Tour de France and the Olympics and Paralympics was a massive inspiration.
So I ventured into a local bike shop and bought a Specialized Dolce Sport – my first ever racing bike. When I told my husband how much it cost he said: Blimey you could have bought a car for that. But then when he saw it he was impressed – in fact I can’t get him off, I’ve told him to get his own. My children have asked for a bike like mine too now.
I started riding mostly short distances of around 20 to 30 kilometres – living in Bath you generally need to tackle a hill to get out into the country so my rides are a mixture of hills and flats. In mid-September I took part in the eight-hour team relay Cyclothon at Brands Hatch, which was fun and good measure of where I am fitness wise.
It was also really helpful to meet other experienced cyclists and get some general tips and cycling advice.
Then I did the British Heart Foundation 80-mile ride from Bath to Bournemouth on September 30. I did it in seven hours 10 minutes, so not particularly fast. The first 50 miles were pretty hilly and I fell off twice. The first time a car came up behind me and I
got a bit spooked, wiggled, forgot I was clipped in, and came off.
There were loads of other cyclists about who gave me a big cheer! Now
I’ve fallen off I feel like a proper cyclist.
Share the road
The hardest bit about returning to cycling was riding on the roads. I was a bit nervous, so going out early on a Sunday morning has been the best way to get used to it. Introducing my 10-year-old son to road cycling was also bit scary but I am determined to teach the children good road sense so they can be safe and not be frightened of cycling on the road.
I believe the cyclist and the motorist have an equal esponsibility to be courteous to each other, and I have been pleasantly surprised to find car drivers quite considerate when they see you cycling with a small boy.
The best bit about returning to cycling is rediscovering the pure enjoyment of it, not to mention the bonus weight loss. I do feel I am becoming a bit of a cycling bore, though – my copy of Cycling Weeky is usually the last thing I read before I go to sleep at night!
Tom Blake: Bike addict
Pennington and Laurence Ellis: Box Hill habitués
This article was first published in the November 8 issue of Cycling Weekly. You can also read our magazines on Zinio and download from the Apple store.