When our British Government announced the “Covid Lockdown” they were quite specific, that whilst the population must stay at home for all but essential journeys, we were allowed/expected to go out and exercise for up to an hour a day.
In other words, stay fit and healthy!
I had I think about this.
Obviously motorcycles didn’t count as “exercise” no matter how physical some rides are. Walking is OK and round Dookes H.Q. there’s lots of nice countryside, but in an hour, you can’t really go far.
Nothing for it, gotta get out the pedal bicycle!
This ticks all the boxes; two wheels, wind in your hair and covering the ground at a good pace and quite a variety of scenery in an hour!
So for the past few weeks that is what I’ve been doing.
I have a long history with bicycles. I can still remember my first, a delightful little thing with solid tyres, no danger of a puncture there! My father fitted it with stabilisers when I first had it, but they soon came off and so did I, a few times, until I got the hang of balancing on two wheels!
When I grew out of it, my Mother thought it was a good idea to buy me a used Raleigh R.S.W. 16. Yeah great, nice thought and good of her to buy it for me….but she never tried riding the wretched thing!These bikes were part of the 1970’s craze for small-wheeled utility bicycles. Do you see any around today? No you don’t, says it all really, they were heavy, uncomfortable and just awful!
Then one day at the back of our garage I discovered my Father’s old Raleigh Trent Sports.
To my young eyes this was cycling heaven. True, it was heavy as hell, but it had a four-speed derailleur gear set and drop-handle bars, it looked like a racer,I fell in love!
The old bike was dragged into daylight and it’s condition assessed.
It needed new tyres and inner tubes, all the bearings taken out cleaned and/or replaced, new brake cables, new gear change cable, new brake blocks, all the bright-work seriously cleaned.
I remember Dad looking at me and just saying “ Well, if you do the work, it’s yours.”
Two weeks later, I proudly pushed the bike out of the workshop and road tested it.
The love affair continued.
I rode that bike everywhere and racked up hundreds and hundreds of miles on it.
At the back of my mind I hankered after a “ten-speed racer” and that dream eventually came true with a hand made Orbit machine.
Oh dear. Never have I been so disappointed; I just never clicked with that bike…
In a way… about 30 years ago actually, that’s where the story ground to a halt,
Until last autumn.
Call it a rush of blood to the head, call it a realisation that I needed to get fitter, call it a return to a simpler time…I wanted, no needed, a bicycle in my life again!
That’s how I became the proud owner of a Carrera Crossfire 2 hybrid.
OK, it’s not he coolest looking thing on two wheels and not the lightest either, but I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted to go, off-road or road bike?
I started off riding round forestry tracks near to Dookes H.Q., but really I couldn’t resist getting out on the road.
Fast forward to this Spring and “Covid Lockdown.”
I’ve always felt a tad “invincible” and never thought that any silly little virus would get me…
Well it bloody nearly did for me!
I went down with all the symptoms about nine weeks ago and as it progressed…well let’s just say I wasn’t too good. No, I didn’t need hospital treatment, but it came close. I’m still not quite right; I took ages to shake off the shortness of breath and a really tight chest…but something I found helps, cycling!
Since I’ve set out to make cycling my convalescence, things have taken off for the better. I can honestly say that each time I ride I can feel myself getting better, fitter and stronger.
There’s one other thing I’ve noticed…
I’m riding a time machine.
With this lockdown, there are fewer vehicles on the road and in many ways it’s how I remember the roads nearly 50 years ago. Things are quiet, life seems to have taken on a slower pace, people smile and wave too; it’s nice.
In my mind I’m back on that old four speed Trent Sports riding the country lanes of my youth.
There is only one downside.
I’m hankering after a road-bike now, maybe a carbon frame, 20+ gears, you know… sexy!
“I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike”
Catch you soon