My Lovely Bike Story!
Well I got so many questions and messages yesterday re my new bicycle on Facebook, I thought I'd expand and share my story so I can answer them all. Most of these questions and messages are: "I used to ride a bike but I don't think I can anymore" "I'd love to how do I get started" "Where do you ride?" "Would your bike suit me"
'Petal' my new bike, just out of the store yesterday.
She is a Baby Blue Vintage Deluxe Reid from Reid Cycles Glebe
The link is HERE: REID CYCLES VINTAGE DELUXE
SO..... When I was a kid, I LOVED riding my Malvern Star Dragster around the streets of Lilyfield, the tracks in Callum Park in Sydney and just anywhere really. It was my freedom, as these things are when you are a child. I remember riding it on the farm when we moved to the country and bumping along the dirt and a few crashes as well! :)
I also rode bikes when I first moved to Sydney as I had a boyfriend who found and restored vintage bikes and we would ride around Centennial Park most weekends. He was way ahead of his time!! This was the 1980s and no one ever wanted to buy his bikes, no one wanted VINTAGE bike especially in the greed is good 80s!!
I got married, I had children, I worked to help support our family so bike riding was a thing of the past. I would watch my kids ride their bikes but I just didn't have the time, the extra money for a bike at that time or the energy.
I didn't cycle at all from about 23 to 33.
When I was 33, I had a really nice friend who was right into fitness and bike riding. I used to tell her I loved bikes and I went out and bought a road bike. I tried to go on rides like her and her friends but the lycra, the speeds, the competitiveness, the way you had to lean over the bike... just not me at all.
The bike sat there and wasn't used much at all. It was rather sad and I was frustrated at not rekindling that old love. I thought, yes I did, at 33 years of age, that bike riding was behind me.
At 35, we moved to the USA.
We lived in San Diego, California. It was beautiful. We lived on the edge of the Canyons, with tracks and lakes and bike paths on streets, well just everything perfect for bike riding really. One day, in the first few weeks of settling in, I saw a woman my age riding a vintage style bike with a basket filled with her shopping and I was so excited. She not only had street clothes on but she just looked like she was so happy.
Of I went in search of this bike and I found something similar. At first it was really hard. My confidence wasn't so great and I was nervous. I didn't give up. We lived in a cul de sac and at the end was a very quiet road about 2km long. On weekdays once Mr Darcey was at work and the kids at school, I would push the bike to the start of it. Then wobbly get on and ride up and down that road in Tierrasanta.
I then took the kids and Mr Darcey joined us for rides through the trails on the weekends once I got my confidence. I'd also ride down to the local shops to get groceries and run errands. I just loved it!!
As we are in transition at the moment, I haven't got all my USA photos! They are in storage but in June, once we settle in, I will come back and add MY photos to this post!
But here is what it looked like at the trails from a few found images on the web:
I love Google!
My old home in San Diego!!
OK so after a few years riding around sunny California, I returned home to Sydney and continued bike riding. I brought my bike back home and off I went.
SO what can I say to share a bit of assistance with those of you who want to ride?
This is not a comprehensive guide, it's just a tiny bit of direction. Google is your friend and the links I've shared here. Also talk with your friends who ride. Listen, but don't think you need to take ALL their advice. Everyone is different and everyone has their own opinions. I honestly can't tell you how many people over the years have told me how I should riding and what I should be riding. Look at my story above. A bike which sadly sat dusty in a corner for years and my confidence gone. Not the person's fault, mine for not going with my own feelings.
To get started:
HIRE A BIKE
I've noticed there are lots of places in all capital cities that you can do this. I've had friends hire bikes and join me. Most big Parks have someone hiring. You might not be able to find all the styles you want to try but you will see if you still like the whole idea of bike riding and do so in a safe place.
Here is ONE sizing guide, but talk to someone in a bike shop and don't lie about your height! lol. The other thing I found an issue for me is that I have a longer torso in comparison to my legs, which are very short. It will effect how you ride and the styles that suit you.
TRY A FEW STYLES
Don't give up!
There will be a bike that you feel right on and you may feel nervous or uncomfortable at first, thats natural. Just persist if its something you really want to do.
Go to a bike shop and see if you can take test rides. Most shops are fine with it. BUT don't feel pressured and take your time. You don't have to buy a bike the first time you walk into a store.
Ask your friends with bikes if you can come over and take theirs for a test ride around the block. The thing with people who love to cycle is, they love to share that experience! There are lots of second hand bikes available too, but get all your facts straight first about the bike you want. There are different frame sizes, wheel sizes as well to think about.
DON'T WORRY ABOUT LOOKS... at first :)
Ok I love the vintage bike style (Dutch Style especially) and right now it IS trendy, but if you prefer a cruiser, a road bike, mountain bike or a bare bike, GO FOR IT. Don't let trends dictate what you purchase. Purchase what suits what you are going to do, where you will mostly ride it and how you feel. I can't stress the comfort enough. Now you will get sore legs, sore bum, sore arms, But you shouldn't feel pain or be completely uncomfortable.
DON'T WORRY ABOUT WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE OR OTHER PEOPLE!!
Oh I got a LOT of people saying they REALLY REALLY wanted to ride a bike BUT were too old/fat/couldn't stand it if someone laughed at them, blah blah blah. SHUT UP, seriously SHUT UP :D I love you but shhhhhhhh............
Seriously I've been yelled at, laughed at by passing idiots on P plates too. I don't care. I'm a curvy girl but I know morons like this would carry on if I looked like Elle. I've also had online sniggering vague~booking on Facebook from a more athletic person I used to look up to after I posted a few things about bike riding last year.
"People who say they exercise all the time but are not athletic looking are fakes"
"It's easy to find a bike anywhere on the Northern Beaches and pose next to it"
blah blah blah..... that sort of thing.
Ignore it too IF it happens. Honestly all these types of people are in the same boat, unhappy, frustrated about something in their lives.
Happy, personally fulfilled people, just don't do those things. They don't post negative attacks on others on social media, they don't yell out of cars at strangers.
So you be happy on your bike and laugh them off too!
Don't ever take personally any negative crap you come across or let it deters you from riding a bike. It is very few and far between. Focus on the good stuff because if you want to go bike riding, there will be so much more good stuff! SOOOO much more!!
WHAT WILL I WEAR?!!
OK you wear what you like. Personally? I wear above the knee cotton dresses and cotton three quarter length gym pants and sneakers. I do like to ride fast and for a long time so I get hot. I'm not doing time trials but I'm not ambling along. Cotton to me is most comfortable and cool. In winter I wear the same but add fingerless gloves, a scarf and a cardigan. I usually find I'm taking a lot of it off (except the dress!) in Sydney on sunny winter days though.
These days you can find great lycra outfits if thats what you want and skirt guards make even long dresses possible.
Oh and wear a proper helmet!!
I MIGHT FALL OFF!
Yeah you might. Wear a helmet.
You might also fall down the stairs, get stung by a bee, cut yourself cooking dinner, back the car into a pole, trip over something, bump into a door.... the list goes on. Just get on the BIKE!
READ BIKE BLOGS
I love these and they give loads of tips, reviews, valuable information and inspirations:
If you have a favourite or two, let me know!
Good Luck with 'getting back on a bike' or getting ON a bike, all those who are seeking to do so.
I'd LOVE to see how you are going! You can hop onto my Facebook page or comment here.
Honestly you don't have to be aiming at riding in the Tour de France to enjoy bike riding.
If you want to then GO FOR IT! I want to know that too!
BUT... If you just want to ride around your local park then do it.
Pretty soon you will venture out and get braver, I assure you! xx