My Cycle Diary
Recently I decided to take up a childhood fantasy of mine, riding a bike. I was never taught how to ride as a child, my parents worked double shifts and I was in a rough area in Tottenham. It wasn’t “little girl riding a bike” safe. So a few years ago, I was taught how to ride properly and recently I managed to procure the most perfect first bike ever J which is a feat in itself. Almost all bikes are sold out due to COVID-19 which is ridiculous but that’s a separate tangent. I had been on a few cycles and had been thinking of challenging myself but as I have so much work on at the moment I decided not to.
That was until I was looking through my Instagram one casual afternoon, as you do, and there was an ad for a charity cycle for cats. Absolutely no idea what took over me but within about 60 seconds I had signed up. The deal was I had to cycle for 9 miles in the same day, raising money of course. Now I would like to reiterate I’ve cycled a total of 7 times prior to signing up and my work load is ridiculously high. The odds are seriously stacked against me. But within about 10mins of me having posted about my torture cycle I already had a £10 donation, so I couldn’t back down! I had to build myself up to 9 miles as I’m not the fittest human around so it was time to commence training.
Cycle day 1 – 31st Aug 20’
I eased myself into my training process. I started with going just under 5 miles. I made sure I put a task in half way so it didn’t feel too much like exercise, so I stopped off at my storage unit to collect my winter coat (winter is coming, legit it’s cold again). I tried using an app that was recommended on the apple store, it didn’t work and I couldn’t advertise my first lengthy cycle. Devastating. Nevertheless, I powered on and managed to do the full length planned. Once I got in, I was drenched in sweat, my legs felt like jelly and I was both full of energy and exhausted. Interestingly I felt less anxious throughout the rest of the day but as it’s a one off I’m going to put it down to a good mental health day.
Cycle day 2 – 1st Sep 20’
Apparently I just COULDN’T wait to get back onto my bike, so I decided to pop out for some sweat inducing fun. Side note, padded shorts make a HUGE difference. I found a slightly stranger route this time that I had wanted to explore for quite some time and, my, was it an adventure. Really quite fun, overcame a few obstacles, all completely worth it. Although physically I was exhausted I was super into the exploration aspect. Alas I only have an hour lunch but I managed just under 4 miles which I was happy about. That said I feel substantially more exhausted for it today! Still no intense anxiety which is handy…however due to a busy work schedule I need to hang up my padded bike shorts for a few days… until next time booty pants.
Cycle day 3 – 15th Sep 20’
It was quite a while between day 2 and 3. This was due to a very busy work schedule and a romantic weekend away. I squeezed my butt back into those padded shorts and off I went. 6.86 miles in about an hour. Legitimately I’m incredibly proud of myself. The path was a little questionable again but it’s partially field and that’s always nice to see in London town. When I got in, I felt like I had the energy of a thousand red bulls. Eventually I crashed out but I was generally pleased with myself. Mind you I still sweat like a pig and have several bruises on my legs but let’s keep pushing on.
Cycle day 4 – 16th Sep 20’
So far this was the most challenging day. I commenced my cycle with the aim of attempting the 9 miles at hand. It was 28 degrees and I was dying of heat. About three miles in I felt something was very wrong. My handlebar started feeling loose and I kept having to bring it back up so I had easy access to the brakes. This just got worse and on a turning I couldn’t brake in time and, of course, came off my bike. Luckily for me I didn’t get any grazes just a vicious bruise. I called up my partner in life and crime, and we took the bike back to his for some tightening up before I continued on my journey. Alas due to it getting dark, I could only do 7.86miles as my detour took a while. I got home and didn’t feel right at all. I think I was more afraid then I let on when I fell and my body was feeling it. I felt off all night and after I had fallen asleep I woke up with a panic attack so incredibly vicious I thought my heart was actually going to burst. I’ll be taking the next few days off…
A few cycles more happened and then we hit D-Day. Sunday 27th September. I woke up with a horrendous crunch in my stomach. I was practically sick with nerves. I still hadn’t done 9 miles but it was too late to back out. I probably chose the worst day weather wise of the year. It was freezing, super windy and completely miserable. Nevertheless, I was off. It had always felt easier than it did today, usually because I wasn’t cycling against 20mph winds!! The effort was doubled, as did the anxiety. There was no one out and about, everyone else was probably all cosy indoors with a nice cup of coffee, reading the Sunday paper. Bastards. I managed to make it half way before a break of a nice warm coffee with some company (he also rode back with me to keep me entertained which was MUCH appreciated). Decaf coffee consumed and I was back on my way. I felt rejuvenated once I knew I was over the half way mark. Before I knew it, I had made it. Nine miles for someone who only a couple months ago had only cycled once in her life is quite the accomplishment. So far I’ve raised £180 for cat’s protection and I couldn’t be happier or more proud!!
Cake was consumed and pictures were taken. I had never imagined being able to do anything like this even at the beginning of this year. Not just from a fitness perspective but from a motivational stand point. Now I can ride a bike fairly well, have raised money for a worthy cause and have pushed myself beyond what I thought capable. I’ll keep pushing and seeing what I can do next :)
You can still donate to this worthy cause using the following link – Cats Protection Fundraiser