Arctic to Africa

Now what?

Many of you won’t know this, but when I decided to cycle from the Arctic to Africa I didn’t own a bike. I signed up to a trip that involved cycling 4000 miles and the most cycling I had done was to the local shops and back and the last time I had done that was easily 4 years prior. I certainly had never ridden a bike with drop handle bars and I had never tackled anything remotely challenging on a bike.

Some people said I was naive, some mental, others said I just flat out couldn’t do it. To be honest I thought I was just downright stupid. The whole idea of cycling from the Arctic to Africa just seemed ridiculous. I don’t think my brain could actually comprehend what it meant to cycle that kind of distance in such a short time. Despite all this, I just knew it was something I was meant to do.

Fast forward two and a bit months and I’m back home. I expected to return and never want to see my bike again. I even remember saying before I left that I would most likely sell my bike when I got back. Not in my wildest dreams did I think I would come home and be itching to get straight back on the road. I didn’t even wait a week before going for a ride and I’ve been out four times already since. I’ve been researching local clubs, new routes, national sportive events and I’ve discovered this whole new world of cycling that I never knew existed and I’m loving it.

On Sunday I went out for my first group ride. The Breeze Network is associated with British Cycling and they are dedicated to getting more women out on their bikes. It sounded much more friendly and approachable then turning up to a local club ride and being greeted by 15 men all clad in Lycra waiting to pound the tarmac for 4 hours on a Sunday morning. At least I knew Breeze would go a pace I could handle and that I wouldn’t have to worry about slowing the group down or being left behind.

The distance was much shorter then I’m used to and I’ve found that now I’m riding without any luggage I’m averaging a fast pace. So the ride turned out to be a little easier then I expected but I still had a lovely time meeting other ladies who enjoy getting out on their bikes and its always more fun riding in a group no matter what pace you go. I’ve signed up for the next organised Breeze ride in a few weeks time and I’m already looking forward to it. In the mean time I have to admit I’m tempted to tackle a club ride, just to see how I fair against the boys in Lycra, I might actually do alright.

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8 ladies turned up for the Breeze ride. Here we are at the top of Devils Dyke.

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Riding in a group is just more fun.

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The view from the top of Devils Dyke.

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2 thoughts on “Now what?

  1. Joar and Kerstin, Nyköping, Sweden says:

    Me and my wife are very proud of what you have done, cycling from Arctic to Africa. And we are also happy you are still cycling on back home in Sussex.

  2. Be careful on the roads! Our city has a higher than normal percentage of cyclist. We have a number of international and national tours in the area because of our mountains and diverse terrain (i.e. Redlands Classic). It also has a high amount of frustrated drivers that are ticked off with the inconsiderate cyclists that block up the roads, socializing side by side! ; ) I need to join a club and get back into riding shape now that the weather is turning decidedly cooler! So glad you are still spinnin’ wheels and proud of your accomplishments!

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