The month of June has been declared “Bike Month” by Mary at Mary J Melange and she has challenged some of us to write about our biking experiences.
Unlike Mary, and Dan at No Facilities, I have no motorcycle experience – I consider it one of my more successful brushes with sanity – so my stories are limited to the humble bicycle.
I feel a bit like a fraud when it comes to cycling because I didn’t embrace it until I was well into my 40s.
Yes, I had a trike as a child and learned how to ride a 2-wheeler, but even though I grew up in a small town, we weren’t allowed to take our bikes anywhere. Needless to say, that made bicycles a completely irrelevant part of my life.
About a dozen years ago, that all changed. Our circle of friends included a large number of triathletes and one evening after a social get-together, I got the crazy idea that I could be one too.
That brings me to the first of my learnings as a budding cyclist.
Learning #1 – be careful of who you chose as your friends. Eventually you will end up like them.
Never one to be satisfied with half-measures, I promptly bought a shiny new racing bike and dove head-first into the world of swim, bike, run.
This brings me to the second of my all important learnings.
Learning #2 – if you would like to be a triathlete, it is highly recommended that you have experience or some level of competence in at least one of the disciplines.
I had neither experience or competence.
The learning curve was steep. Very steep … and more than a little bumpy. Making the transition from non-cyclist to racing wannabe was not a smooth one.
Getting used to a twitchy racing bike and the clip-in bike shoes was unforgiving. On the inaugural ride of my shiny new Cervelo, I crashed and broke the rear derailleur. For those of you who don’t know bikes, read the word *expensive*.
This now brings me to the third lesson learned on my journey to wannabe cyclist.
Learning #3 – keep the rubber side of the bicycle down.
Over the course of the next several years, I would have multiple crashes and 2 ambulance rides compliments of my failure to embrace Learning #3.
… but I was not dissuaded. With several sprint distance races behind me, I (very optimistically) decided I was ready to tackle the big boy itself – Ironman.
What I lacked in athletic ability, I made up for with wild, unbridled enthusiasm.
For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the Ironman, it is comprised of a …
- 3.86 km swim (2.4 miles),
- 180 km bike ride (112 miles)
- and a 42.2 km marathon run (26.2 miles),
… raced in that order, and without a break.
Ironman gave me an introduction into an entirely new realm of cycling experiences … but maybe that’s a post for another day.