I’m originally from mid Wales but I now live in SW London. Until a few years ago, I was a civil servant but developed degenerative and chronic joint pain which led to me giving up desk-based work.
I was struggling to get to the nearby gym to do the exercises I’d been prescribed, or go for a swim which was the sole cardio exercise left to me. It was taking me longer to get there than I would spend in there. A friend mentioned getting a bike, and £250 later, I was the proud owner of a Specialized Globe Vienna II, with nice silver mudguards. Aka, the Blue Beast:
(I even got Putney Cycles to fit a free bidon (bee-don, aka bottle) cage to the bars. The pannier rack was a later addition which didn’t last.)
Soon, I noticed something strange: I was getting more pain relief from the cycling than I was from all the gym work. This bike gave me the freedom that I hadn’t had for years, to move distances under my own steam. To feel human, for the first time in longer than I knew.
I began increasing the miles I was doing, tracking it on a free app on my phone. Slowly, I went from two, to ten, to twenty, to thirty miles.
Friends following me said that I needed a road bike, as I could go faster and further.
So, a few months later, I found Baby:
Baby was in a bad way: it had been kept outside, the brake were almost-useless and the indexing way off. I fixed the brakes myself, and got a bike shop to sort out the gears. Then I started to put the miles in.
I joined Barnes Cycling Club, started going out with them on a Wednesday night and a Sunday morning. A year or so later, I also joined the Kingston Wheelers for their ‘work dodger’ mid week rides.
I now have more than 3 bikes for which I do my own mechanics, try to ride at least three times a week to keep my hip pain and weight under control, including regularly leading social club runs into the Surrey Hills.
Cycling saved my life. I’ve received a lot of help from the cycling fraternity, so I started this blog to pass on some of the knowledge I’ve picked up from others and from personal experience.