One of the points on my ever-growing list of things to do before 2015 comes to a close was to attempt cycling to work. The plan is to perhaps do the commute once or twice a week from next Easter onwards to help with my triathlon training, so I really wanted to get a feel for what the route would be like and how long it would take this side of Christmas.
Now that we’re all moved into The Summer House it seemed like the perfect opportunity to dust off Edoardo (the Bianchi) and give this a go before a truly miserable, dark and wet autumn sets in, preventing any type of cycling from taking place. Every day last week during my drive in to work I analysed the route over and over in my head, figuring out what would be challenging and what would be easy. I soon realised that the journey to work would be a gradual incline for approximately 80% of the 8 mile journey (although superb news for the journey home!). Inclines are not my friend, I flippin’ hate any kind of hill and despite generally okay fitness levels, my head always tells me how weak I am on any challenging element of a workout and I often hover dangerously near to the ‘let’s just give up’ zone. So I knew that I would find the cycle in to work a challenge due to the inclines, and also had the added worry of the cycle being on quite a narrow and bendy country lane which certainly isn’t the safest of roads. Luckily I had the added comfort of my husband cycling with me who knows when to shout words of motivation just as I’m starting to concede defeat. He’s very good like that, although rather surprisingly it was only the very last hill (which is quite steep and is only about 100m from the entrance to the campus) where I needed his gentle encouragement. The rest of the cycle was still a challenge, but left me feeling really happy and invigorated – I can see that I will quickly regain my cycle fitness if I continue to cycle that route. This was also the first time I had cycled for 8 weeks, and I can probably count on my hands how many times I have actually been out on a bike this year…it’s been an incredibly busy year.
Being a control-freak and someone who panics about time-keeping, I had allowed ourselves an hour to do the ride – but genuinely thought it might take us even longer. As it turns out, it only took 37 minutes, which means I certainly underestimated my ability. I’m also fairly confident that next spring I will be able to get that time down to about 34 minutes, which is great.
Of course, a big part of me surprising myself time-wise is the fact that I am lucky enough to be cycling on a really lovely bike. Edoardo is incredibly light and just a joy to cycle, I would always recommend Bianchi bikes to people (although secretly I love being part of the somewhat elitist Bianchi group as I know it isn’t necessarily the go-to brand of bike choice). I was also wearing my IROCK jerseys from Smashfest Queen which makes me feel like a complete bad ass because my ironman friends put me onto the brand. And you know, if an ironman wears something then it is definitely cool. Finally, I had my new Osprey Syncro 15 rucksack in velocity green which I am absolutely in love with and made transporting all of my work clothes/lunch/general bits and pieces so much easier – in fact, I didn’t even notice I had a bag on my back which is quite something considering I spend most of my life suffering with some degree of back pain.
All in all, a highly successful first step into the world of cycle-commuting and one which I am really excited to embrace next spring.