Cycling here Cycling there!
When I moved to the south coast I was just thinking of the lovely scenery I was going to have on my doorstep like the sea and the landscape. I knew we had located to a busy vibrant place. After spending a week here I realised that so many people cycle. The next thing I found myself doing was looking at everyone’s bike. Was it modern, was it vintage, did it have a basket on the front. Spending time thinking about this I wondered how much shopping could actually fit in one of those baskets. Could you fit a Friday nights supply of Gin with two bottles of tonic and some nuts!
After about 4 weeks I was struggling with my joints, good old vitamin D damage and the idea of a bicycle appealed to me. I thought it would mean less pressure on my ankles and feet where I get pain and I was right. Cycling has helped me plus I can get to places a lot quicker than walking, although I love walking. I hadn’t really cycled much since I was about 14. My dad’s family live in Ireland so we went over there every year to see cousins and relatives. Because they lived in a small village in a farming county, this meant you either had to cycle or have a car to get anywhere other than the small village which felt like one road to be honest. So I would cycle on my cousins Raleigh racing bike. I loved it and we would cycle 30 miles in a day.
Growing up around a very busy city, you didn’t see many people cycling but these days cyclists are everywhere. What with companies now offering a cycle to work scheme where employees get to pay for a bike over a certain term and get a brand new bike for a small payment, there seem to be more bikes on the road than ever. Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour de France inspired people to jump on, saddle up and get some exercise. Where I live now everything is so accessible I can really see why so many people have bikes.
I saw my bike at the Bike Exchange which is about a 15-minute walk from my house. Being a vintage 1985 in a blueish purple colour, it has a pretty name Caprice and designed by Raleigh I felt we were a good match. Looking at it, your eyes wonder if it is Blue or Purple, I like the way it rides and suits me to a T. It has a basket but is the original wire one which I love as I think it suits the bike and me, to be honest 🙂
There are feelings that maybe it needs a little TLC, a bit of work to the seat, some creative flair adding to the basket. Hammerite paint to the basket part sounds like a good idea to make it come up as new 🙂 When I went for my first ride down the seafront I felt so giddy, it was like I was 10 again. I am not going to put my hands up and say I am the best cyclist, but I don’t care. There is no way I am trying to impress anybody. Just having the sea breeze running through my hair and making me feel alive and happy is all I care about. Where I live there are little roads and it isn’t too busy. So I can be in town in like 10 minutes. I love that because it means it’s not too much for me. Personally, I would hate having to do a 5-mile trip to get to where I need to be. Tootling is just fine by me.
My dad was a brilliant cyclist. He had a custom-built racing bike made for him in the 50’s which still sits on my auntie’s wall even though he isn’t here anymore. The story goes he won heaps of trophies and would bring them all home for my granny. So it sounds weird I know but when I go out on my bike I always think of my dad, I feel him with me, laughing at me probably at how funny I look, but enjoying watching me having a good laugh, admiring the sea view and most likely being my guardian angel protecting me from doing something stupid. One day I hope to ask my auntie if I can bring my dad’s bike over and restore it. When I look around at some of the amazing bikes there are out there, I think I could do a good job of making it look a cool design, so fingers crossed one day that might happen. At the moment I haven’t timed how long it takes to get from Clarence Pier to the South Pier side but all I know is it a lovely ride. You can stop off and visit the Tea on the Sea shop that sells lovely drinks, I especially love their hot chocolate, also around the side is a brand new fish and chip restaurant that looks so tasty.
Southsea has some good bike shops but one of my favorite from a design point of view is Bike-U-Like because every time I walk past I see some awesome designs and it just has a nice feel about it. The weather has been so good in Southsea with very little rain but I am worried about leaving my bike out throughout the Winter, it’s quite funny because I have never had to think about this stuff before. I knew I needed a cycle cover but then I got thinking what other cycling bargains I might be able to find. Firing up the Internet I found a fab website that finds cycling products you want but for the lowest possible price giving you the best cycling bargains. By using their Discount Finder in a few seconds I had found a great cycle cover for just £16.79 with 24% off! The Discount Finder works by filtering products from the leading bike retailer’s databases and sorting them to show you the best discounts. By scanning nearly half a million products, discount finder can efficiently serve up the latest deals on bikes, components, clothing, accessories, and anything bike related you can think of, which I think is perfect. I am a little hooked now though and wondering what else I can buy for my bike.
While in my local library that doubles as a very cool gift shop I saw a section for bike lovers. Just staring at me was this print by Bay Tree Gallery which pretty much sums up how I feel at the moment so I had to buy it and just looking for a home for it right now 🙂 It will be interesting to see what the weather will be like during the Winter months and if I get to go out much on my bike, I really hope so. When it rains I am not sure I am an all-weather cyclist yet, I kind of feel like I might be like a cat and hate getting wet on the saddle but will have to see!