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Sunday, 14 August 2016

Time to Hit The Road

It is time for a new kind of cycling. I have always been afraid of clips because of a fear of toppling over and hurting myself, but the man in the cycle shop said that I seemed to be a natural at clipping and unclipping and that I would be fine. Someone else told me that I would fall over once, should laugh it off and then just get back on the bike. But I was totally prepared for this.

I walked down the loose gravel drive in my new shoes, got onto the road and clipped myself in. And I was off. This was fast. I've never ridden a road bike (aka a racing bike in the UK) and so I had never experienced anything like this. Every bump in the road was tremendously exaggerated because there was no suspension, something I've been used to practically since I've been riding bikes. And it felt precarious because the bike was so much lighter compared with anything else I've ever ridden. But I knew this was fast.

I wasn't even going to do five miles, I just wanted to get used to the bike. After I had cycled perhaps a mile, I saw a place ahead that would be perfect to stop. This was it. As I drew closer, I unclipped my right foot, which is my dominant foot. Here we go....

Now, muscle memory is an interesting thing. It turns out that for 25 years of bike riding on roads, whenever I stopped it wasn't my right foot that I would put down but my left. That was because I would push off again on the pedal with my right foot. So, here I am with my right foot unclipped and my left foot firmly clipped into the pedal. Instinctively, my muscle memory kicked in and I went to put my left foot down. But my left foot couldn't go down, so I unbalanced the whole bike and, as everyone said I would, I toppled hard onto the road. For a second, I stopped and then realised what I had just done and started laughing. Then I realised that I was actually lying in the middle of the road so I got up and moved to the side of the road just as a small truck quickly drove past. That was actually much closer than I had realised.

So, now I know. Unclip the LEFT foot, not the right. Then unclip the right foot if need be. Ass.

A little bruised, I at least wasn't squashed by the truck and am rather excited to see what I can do on the new bike. More soon...

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