Curb your Van-Fear

So. ever since I got my shiny new road bike the weather has persisted to prevent me going out. Snow, ice and compressed slush just isn’t  my friend. Credit to Super-Jen who has got out in the snowy conditions for 14 mile cycles, however I have zilch experience in road-awareness and cycling safety so I’ve been waiting for milder, clearer riding conditions.

I got out this morning hoping for a 10 mile ride, as Ryan said that would be a good starting point to gain some road experience and get used to the gears. Ideally, I wanted to cycle along the cycle way nearby, which would factor out traffic and navigation and would allow me to concentrate solely on getting used to gears and building up my speed and confidence. However, the entire cycleway has turned into an ice-rink….so roads it is.

I’m still getting used to the gears on my new bike, and I’m aware that looking down at the chain whilst doing 20mph on an A-road isn’t ideal, so I tried my best to anticipate gear changes and not twist my chain by going too high or too low. Ryan actually gave me a theory lesson in gears yesterday, to help me get my head around what gears are needed for what terrain. This was his diagram :

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Now, I’ve never cycled on busy roads before in my life aside from a mandatory “road cycling safety” class in primary school that taught us to balance when sticking our arms out to indicate turning. That lesson actually came in very useful today. Thank you Miss Hill.

The vans and cars zooming past me at 30mph was quite daunting at first, and judging the space between them and the curb takes some concentration, but I felt more at ease even after 5 minutes.  I need to build up my speed, stamina and become more comfortable with gear changes, but that’s what this training is all about. I think I keep forgetting that I only started cycling 3 months ago, and make myself feel bad for not being an experienced cyclist yet, but it’ll take time. Hopefully not longer than 5 months!

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Ryan and Jen are more advanced in their training than I am, but they have done cycling holidays before and been cycling for longer than I have. This coming weekend is our first official training weekend where we will meet up and cycle 60 miles from wales-Chester ( I believe) and i’ll be able to see if my training so far has paid off, and how I need to change/step up my training regime.

After cycling on the roads today amongst cars, lorries and vans and indeed facing the ‘van-fear’, I thought i’d delve this out and re-award myself with the ‘trained cyclist’ badge I received aged 9. well done me.

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Now for some smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast. yuum 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Curb your Van-Fear

  1. Well done, Megs. I like reading your blog, you’re quite a good writer you know. Think I’ll bookmark you 😉

  2. Superhero! Think I have my Brownie cycling badge somewhere that I can award you on 20 miles?!

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