I Like to Ride My Bicycle, I Like to Ride My Bike

I briefly mentioned, in my last post, an ill-fated bike ride and promised an explanation so here it is. I have a driving license but I’m über frightened of driving at the moment. I lost all confidence as soon as I passed my test and now have an intense fear of dying or killing someone else, or both.

Since changing jobs I knew I would need to actually make it to the office in one piece, and so I tried some driving but scared myself (and Gary) and so have decided I need to get some refresher lessons from someone who can deal with an anxious driver. In the mean time, however, I still need to get to work. Hence the bike.

I didn’t own one of my very own, so I borrowed my Sister-in-Law’s Raleigh and decided to test the route to work a couple of Thursdays ago. For those who don’t know Milton Keynes, when they built the town they made it so you could get anywhere by bike or on foot without having to use or cross main roads. They created a system of bike paths called Redways (wide paths of red tarmac) which went alongside and then underneath the main roads creating a network of bike paths across the whole New City. Having grown up in Milton Keynes I took these paths for granted, but since I decided to bike to work, I’ve had to explain what I mean to a lot of people when I say I’m travelling to work via Redway.

I hopped on the bike and headed towards the roads in the direction I knew I would need to go in. Now, I’m usually driven or directed places so many people don’t realise one thing about me: I’m severely directionally challenged. These redways don’t make things easy either because you’re riding UNDERNEATH the roads you’re used to seeing and the signs along the way aren’t that clear. Plus if you don’t know the estates you’re meant to be passing on your way then you’re screwed. Which I was. An hour-long journey (half an hour there and half an hour back) took me two and a half hours, a whole bottle of water, lots of sweat (I decided to wear a jumper for some reason…..) and a few phone calls to Gary – which ended with him coming to pick me and the bike up about 10 mins from home because I just couldn’t ride any more. Disaster. But since I’d made it to the office eventually and I now knew the rough journey, I knew I couldn’t let it put me off.

The next day Gary asked if he could borrow his Brother-in-Law’s bike so we could try the route again, this time together, and we headed for a bike shop so I could buy my own! This is the one we bought in the end:

bike

It’s so pretty! I knew I’d have a few days to wait until it arrived but from the photo it looked lovely. Having only seen a photo in the shop, as they didn’t have the model in stock, I just had to trust that the salesman knew what he was doing.

Our second test run to the office was much better. I realised areas where I went wrong and Gary, who is much better with a map, helped me along. I also got an amazing tan from this bike ride! The journey there took about 35 mins. The journey back took an hour because by the time I’d got there I was knackered and we quickly realised that the ride back was mostly up hill. Doh! Never mind, we did it!

My bike arrived mid-week last week (it’s beautiful and rides amazingly well) and I rode it to work on Friday. The ride to work was brilliant. Certainly woke me up! It took me a shorter time than I expected so I arrived at work earlier than I’d of liked but it was fine. It gave me time to freshen up before I started work. I got a little turned around on the way back and it was really hot again, but I made it home. One fun thing was that my Mum had seen me on my ride into work as she was waiting at a large roundabout in her car and had seen me riding alongside the main road. Pretty cool!

I’m going to have to work on my driving because come autumn/winter the conditions won’t be good enough for me to bike 4 miles into work and back every day, but for now I’m enjoying it. It’s keeping me fit, which I need now I’m in a sit down job, and strengthening my legs for my running.

It’s a win-win!

For those wondering, I’m really enjoying my new job and learning so much, and I’ll write more about that soon 🙂

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4 thoughts on “I Like to Ride My Bicycle, I Like to Ride My Bike

  1. I am also severely directionally challenged! My boyfriend always says I need a translator for the SatNav when I drive!
    I’d love to live close enough to bike into work. Although, like you say, it only really works when the weather’s fine.

  2. I’d love to know if you find somewhere that’s good for refresher driving lessons. My boyfriend suffers from anxiety and as he’s not driven for a few years I think it would be good for him, as he needs to start driving now.

    1. I’ll let you know for sure 🙂 hoping to look into it seriously in the next few weeks and get back on the road. As much as I’m enjoying biking, this unorthodox British weather won’t last!

  3. ooh, what a cool bike!! I totally understand what you mean about struggling on a bike, but I’m so glad to hear that you loved it once you found the right bike! it’s super encouraging as I’m bike shopping! 🙂

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