Whether you love to ride alone or in a group, started cycling when you were a tiny child or a mature adult, the chances are someone else introduced you to the world of bikes and cycling, and quite likely played a large part in how you view it.
- Over to you: What wisdom would you share with a beginner cyclist?
- Over to you: Do you remember your first bike?
I’ve got two sets of people to thank for my interest in bikes.
First, of course, were my parents. Like most parents they got me a secondhand bike when I was small, a red Raleigh, which I ripped around on doing tricks (standing on the top tube while riding down hills) and riding off-road (the unpaved track near my house with wheel-sized potholes — I lived in a forest-free patch of suburbia).
Then, like many kids, came a looooong break. About 15 years.
I didn’t cycle while I was a teenager and it was only because a friend took me mountain biking in my twenties that I got back into it. I credit her with introducing me to a new world that has quite literally taken over my life.
That first time out on an old hand-me-down mountain bike, with a pannier rack bolted on the back, dodgy rim-brakes and terrible tyres, was pivotal.
Terrifying, exhilarating, brilliant. She encouraged me over twigs that felt like logs, over pebbles that felt like boulders, over steps that felt like cliffs. Every little obstacle I rolled over, I felt this incredible sense of accomplishment and she shared every little triumph with me on that ride.
It was fun, social, exciting and I couldn’t wait to get back out again.
That was more than a few years ago now, but I still get that feeling when I ride. And to think that if it wasn’t for her inviting me to go out with her on a terrible bike and as a total newbie, slower than an arthritic tortoise, I might never have discovered cycling.
I think all of us have the opportunity to introduce someone new to this sport, whether that’s your children, your friends, your family, your partner and who knows, it could become their passion too!
So we want to know who got you into cycling. Who took you out that first time and introduced you to the joys of tarmac, the thrill of mud and rubber or the freedom of powering yourself to your destination free from the trammels of petrol or rails.
Give them a shout out, say thanks and then get someone riding yourself.