It’s good to push yourself, right?
Recently I’ve been in a bit of a rut with my fitness; no new races to aim for, bored of all my running routes, keen to try something new but with nowhere to start. So, when the team from Halfords got in touch and asked if I would like to give a new model from Boardman Bikes, it seemed like too good an offer to turn down.
To be very clear, cycling terrifies me! I learnt to cycle as an adult (I think I was about 21) on this little beauty:
Dayve refurbished it for me as a gift, and then taught me to ride it. It was tiny! Unfortunately it got stolen when we moved to London together (classic); we did eventually get it back (long story) but it was broken beyond repair.
The next time I rode a bike was back in 2013, when I took part in the Jenson Button Triathlon, and I was lent a road bike a few weeks before race day. I practised on the bike for about three weeks before race day; on race day I rode the bike to the start line, fell off and broke my elbow.
And that is the sum total of my bike experience. So it is pretty exciting/nerve-wracking to be getting back on the bike again! Mainly exciting though. I have always loved the idea of tackling a cycling challenge, and so maybe 2017 is the year I finally pull up my big girl pants and do it!
About the bike…
This is the Boardman Road Team Carbon Women’s bike, which is based around Boardman’s SLR Endurance C7 carbon frame (the super fancy Boardman one). It also has a full carbon fork. For those who this means something to (!) it has 2×10 speed Shimano Tiagra gearing, Tektro R540 dual pivot calliper brakes and mavic rims with 25c Vittoria tyres (which is an all-season wheel set). It is also kitted out with women’s specific geometry and saddle, but I think I’ll be the judge of how lady friendly it is in reality! Also, it might seem obvious, but I can’t get over how light it is. Super light. Less than 9kg light. It’s amazing.
It comes in four different frame sizes – I have the smallest one (48.5cm). When I picked up the bike from Halfords the staff there customised the fit of the bike for me, and helped me learn to adjust it myself. I went to the Chingford store, and the team there were amazing! They set up the bike for me, helped me pick a well-fitting helmet (junior size, which was embarrassing) and some lights, and didn’t laugh once at how inexperienced I was. I also took out their care plan, which covers all labour for repairs during the next year, which I think is going to be well used given how little I currently know about bikes. They also informed me that my local store (Mile End) is pretty much a cycle specific store, so it’s genuinely great to know I’m covered and I have somewhere to go which is local.
The bike also comes fitted with pedals (cages), which is perfect for me as I’m going to have a hard time just staying on – let alone battling with cleats! I definitely want to make the move to cleats though, so I’m hoping to upgrade later in the year.
So – time for a cycling adventure! If you’re also a total beginner (or just interested in laughing at my incompetence) keep an eye out for my cycling series, where I’m going to document the highs and lows of getting to grips with an amazing road bike like this one. If you’re an experienced cyclist – I would love to hear from you! Please let me know if you have any tips for beginner cyclists, or any leads on friendly groups to ride with in London!