Confessions of a newbie cyclist

I wrote this blog post about a year and a half ago – now I don’t bike to work anymore because I live somewhere that you need to be a damn Olympic athlete to cycle anywhere from (and have a bit of a death wish, to be perfectly honest). I miss it.

So I’ve been cycling to work for about three weeks now. The kiddo and I get on our bikes at 7am and cycle to before-school care along the footpath (the road’s a bit chaotic for a 9 year old [and 28 year old] newbie cyclist), stopping off at the school next door to lock up her bike.

Then I continue on to work in Henderson, arriving about 7.45am and leaving enough time for a shower and shiz to get to my desk at 8am… ish.

And then back again the other way at 5pm.

It’s pretty freaking choice. I swear I’ve made more friends in the bathroom at work since I started cycling than I’ve made friends in the whole of the building in the last 6 months. Is making friends in the bathroom real creepy? IT’S A PLACE OF GREAT BONDING OVER SWEATY SNEAKERS. I SWEAR.

Things I’ve learned:

  • There’s a shit tonne of glass on roads and foot paths.
  • Riding over glass causes holes in bike tyres.
  • Bikes may say they have 21 gears but you can’t really use all of them or you’ll stretch the chain and then you’ll battle getting it into gear.
  • Mountain bikes aren’t really road bikes but they’re kinda helpful when you have to go up lots of hills.
  • My bike lock is up to eff all.
  • Roads that may look and feel flat while driving, aren’t flat at all.
  • There’s an awesome cycle path all marked out from Ranui to Henderson.
  • There isn’t an awesome cycle path marked out from Swanson to Ranui.
  • Google has cool cycle map things.
  • Vintage Drive hill is bloody steep.
  • Sometimes you can be wearing all the fluoro gear in the universe, and drivers will STILL look straight through you.

Regarding that last point, I encounter this so many times when stop at intersections, waiting to turn left. I try to be out as far in the road as possible (but leaving room for people who want to turn right) but people seem to think I’m invisible and pull their giant cars out around me to turn left. HELLO. I’m going the same fricking way. I haven’t had a really close call yet, but it is bloody dangerous. If I happened to take off, right in front of them heading around and in front of me, it wouldn’t be pretty. So a friendly reminder to actually be conscious of cyclists when they’re at intersections, trying to get back out on the road. And, like, always.
But yeah, loving exercise that is actually useful. It gets me somewhere. I’m really enjoying that part. Exercise smugness is my other motivating force.

The kiddo is doing really well and I can see her improving. I’m getting better too! I’m wayyyy less wobbly and now feel a bit more confident being all “No, hurtling metal shell on wheels, you can wait for me plz.”
If you’ve been thinking about getting on a bike yourself, then I can’t recommend it enough.

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