When I was nine or ten years old, and tall enough to reach the pedals, my mum let me have a go at riding her black bicycle. As we lived on a hill, getting started was a challenge, made worse by the fact it was an adult’s bike and a tad too big for me. Not unsurprisingly, I took a tumble and had to limp into school the next day with sore, scraped knees. Mrs Thomas, my teacher at that time, offered me no sympathy, preferring to tell me that girls should not ride bikes! Despite both the tumble and her attitude, I was hooked on cycling and have been ever since.
Now, before I give the wrong impression, I am very much a fair weather cyclist, although I have been caught out a few times on summer days and returned home rather soggy around the edges. And neither am I a SWILL ( Senior Woman In Lycra Leggings). I am a leisure cyclist, enjoying being out in the countryside and observing things which would otherwise be missed if you were driving past. And the beauty of primrose-covered banks at this time of year is one of my favourite sights.
However, there are risks involved with sharing country lanes and busy main roads with others. At various times in the past, I have been chased by dogs (a nuisance but usually easy to cycle away from); an angry pheasant (rather more of a problem as it could run fast and kept trying to peck the tyres) and an even angrier woman driving a sports car (to date, she was the most threatening). My knee has never quite recovered from the tumble I took from the bike on a canal towpath in France, where we were -up to that point anyway- enjoying a cycling holiday. (In case you’re wondering, we did manage to complete the holiday without further mishap!).
So, despite the drawbacks, and apart from the obvious benefits of exercising in the fresh air, why do I enjoy cycling? Well, it helps me to process negative thoughts and to think through any problems which have been going round and round in my head. My ride a few days ago allowed me to compose this blog in my head whilst being in the midst of the natural world. And, of course, it gives me permission to indulge in a piece of cake and cup of tea when I’ve cycled 6 miles or so to the nearest farm shop café!
So I’m wondering if you like cycling? Or do you enjoy any other physical activity which helps you to de-stress and escape, albeit temporarily, the thoughts going round and round in your head?
A Moodscope member.