Cycling: Looking Back
I can't really even begin to explain how cycling has changed my life. I’ll probably have to write a book on it one day. Not yet though I still feel like there are way too many adventures left to come.
My earliest memory on the bike was dad teaching me to ride without the stabilisers. We all know this is rarely a smooth experience and mine was no different! I remember falling in a ditch filled with stinging nettles, dad laughing at me and mum slathering me in cream to help with the pain! As I got older I was forced onto family bike rides in the New Forest on Sundays, which at the time I honestly hated! Hard to believe this now!
When I got a bit older I used to join my nan on a Sunday for a local loop of Southampton, and I remember this climb that I used to push my bike up! This hill now something I wouldn't really class as a hill, how things change!
It was in my second year of university at the ripe age of 20 that I started 'properly' cycling. I had started dating a guy who cycled EVERYWHERE and had fallen into a group of friends that just liked to ride bikes. When my best friend bought a road bike and I couldn’t keep up anymore, the only logical thing to do was follow suit.
My first road bike was a Cube Women’s Axial, I got it second hand and it was perfect! I joined the university cycling club and would spend every spare minute out exploring! I also bought the most unique green helmet which I absolutely loved! It was also during my time at uni that I completed my first sportive: The Dragon Ride in Wales. 143 miles with over 10,000ft of climbing, plus 5 miles there and back.. dinner tasted good that night!
The first time I clipped into pedals:
I was due to go on my first club ride and didn’t want to go without clip in pedals, so spent the morning racing around town to buy some new shoes. I got home lined myself up in the middle of the room with my bike, holding onto a clothes airer for support. I then clipped in and forgot how to unclip. Cue falling in a heap under lots of sheets. I remember Jess, my housemate, walking in and not really quite understanding what was going on..
Road Awareness: Cycling teaches you road awareness like nothing else. It’s important never to forget how vulnerable you are on the road and as a follow up blog I am going to put forward my learnings on how to stay even safer on the roads!
Starting Full Time Work:
Leaving uni and starting a full time job came as a real shock to me. Suddenly I had so little time, and as a result extended commutes were the only way I could really fit outdoor rides on during the week, especially in the dark winters!
It was also while I was living in Sheffield I had one of the saddest bike memories to date. One evening I was particularly exhausted and wanted to make it to the local running club but had to drop my bike off at the bike shop for a service.
After a stressful drive through the Sheffield traffic I located a multi story and started driving in, bike on my new roof racks on top of my new car.. I didn’t even register the crunch as both bike and rack were dragged off the car, it wasn’t until I saw it falling in the back mirror.
Looking back it’s sort of ironic but I didn’t stop hysterically crying for about 3 hours, that was until my step dad said: she might have been your first love but you’ll find another, which reminded me no one had died and it was just a bike. The bike didn’t fair well with a massive dent in the frame and the car even worse. I like to think of it as battle scars and since that day my little car has become my run around bikes flying in and out of the boot (but never the roof don’t think I could ever face another roof rack)
First Cycling Holiday:
In April 2018 I went on my first ‘proper’ cycling holiday to Mallorca. It is still to this day one of the best memories of my life! It was during this holiday I properly started ‘Pocket Rocket Rach’
Every single evening I would write a blog of the day detailing my adventures as I explored almost every climb the island had to offer, including checking out the IRONMAN Mallorca 70.3 expo (this was before I had burst onto the IRONMAN scene I was still a wannabe at this point)
I started to gain some followers and absolutely loved engaging with people in the sport and proving that girls (even short ones like me) can do it too! Sadly I have lost this blog now, I would have loved to have had a read back!
I won’t go into IRONMAN too deeply here, but following that holiday I signed up to IRONMAN Wales and Mallorca 70.3 is still on the bucket list!
One of the most amazing things to come out of cycling is the community I have created here on Instagram. I love that I inspire so many of you to believe you are cape able of so much more than you thought. Whether this is learning to ride a bike, having the confidence to go on your first club ride or riding 100 miles! You guys inspire me too, and I love following so many unique journey’s!
What is your best cycling memory so far? Please leave a comment below I would love to hear them, would make for a brilliant follow up blog!
Until next time,
Pocket Rocket Rach 🚀