take one woman with low self esteem, but quite good hair
add one moronic illness
stir in some medication which causes hair to fall out
mix it all up and this is what you get...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Two-wheeled anxiety 

I have discovered that cycling brings with it a whole host of opportunities for anxiety.

Cycling was very much part of my childhood. My siblings and I would ride for hours around the southern tip of Epping Forest which was on our doorstep. Gradually, though, we outgrew our bikes and moved on to other pursuits. It was a good 15 years before these sturdy buttocks of mine perched themselves on a bike again.

Of course, in between times, they had embellished the rather more girthy pillion seat of a Suzuki DR 600, a Honda CBR 1000F and a Suzuki GSX R750 during my "biker chick" phase (I really enjoyed removing that crash helmet and shaking my long hair out, just like the girl off the Zovirax advert), but in pillion riding, the main thing to concentrate on is clinging on for dear life, keeping as still as you can and, on the longer journeys (Lyon to Brussels, for example), attempting to block out the constant, dull ache in your buttocks and trying not to care about the fact that you’re wearing a balaclava and bright red, waterproof dungarees.

So after only a couple of shaky bicycle rides around the bridleways of the New Forest about 5 years ago, I set off on our work jaunt this weekend with some trepidation and a plethora of anxieties.

The "does my bum look big in this?" anxiety
If there’s anything which will *ensure* that your bum looks big, it’s perching it on the saddle of a pushbike.

The "how do I actually start moving this contraption without wobbling?" anxiety
Eventually, I accepted the inevitability of wobbling

The "my toes only just touch the floor" anxiety
Meaning that the emergency "footbrake" option is not really viable. The alternative, of course, was to have my knees virtually brushing my cheeks at each revolution...

The "however gently I brake, I always stop with a jolt" anxiety
Less an anxiety, more of a "fact". I need to perfect the "tip the bike sideways and put a foot on the floor just at the right time" manoeuvre.

The "going down a steep hill" anxiety
Just walking down a steep hill is enough of an issue for me; I usually end up turning sideways and "tottering". I haven't yet worked out the cycling equivalent of "tottering", but I'm working on it.

The "will everyone laugh at me because they’re all outdoorsy types and cycle on a regular basis and they look all professional with their Camel Packs?" anxiety
This proved to be largely unfounded. They laughed with me rather than at me and didn’t mind being slowed down by an inept amateur such as myself.

I’m just glad that the traffic-free route through the Devon countryside meant that I didn’t have to suffer the main cycling anxiety:

The "I’m going to be knocked off the bike by a motorist and die" anxiety
One which prevents me from taking to the roads, much to my own chagrin, given my greenish tendencies...

*glances at date*

Oooh, I've been blogging for two years!

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