Do something every day that scares you

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 blog 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!

This Boardman bike was generously provided by Halfords, in exchange for a feature on my blog. All opinions are my own. All of the extras (accessories, care plan etc.) are funded by me.


  1. MrsB | mind over matter
    January 11, 2017 / 12:25 pm

    Ooooh, I love a nice bike! 🙂 I was a pretty serious cyclist when I lived in Australia but haven’t been on my bike much at all since we moved to London. Which was 10 years ago! In the summer I like to ride in Richmond park but it’s pretty hilly and coming down hills fast really scares me. I need to find a large flat park somewhere in SW London. I dream about commuting to work by bike again as well but I’m 17km from the office and would have to ride on busy roads, so it’s probably not going to happen. I’ll start doing it again when we move back to Australia.

    • prettyfit
      January 15, 2017 / 3:44 pm

      Agree, London isn’t the best place to be a newbie cyclist! When are you moving back to Australia? How exciting!

  2. Iain
    January 13, 2017 / 10:27 am

    Hi Sophie, Lovely Wheels! Hope you enjoy them. I got a road bike last year and I’m really enjoying it. I agree with Mrs B. Find a nice park to try it out and get used to it. Cleats are useful for performance but I still struggle with them in heavy traffic, so get used to your bike first. Everyone has a story about coming off their bike due to cleats. Mine was in the middle of a box junction. My other tip – Get some good gloves and some padded shorts. Looking forward to hearing how you get on.

    • prettyfit
      January 15, 2017 / 3:44 pm

      Ah, thank you! Yes, definitely after some padded bottoms, and good shout on the gloves! And will definitely be spending a lot of time in the park before hitting the roads – I think I’d be a liability!

  3. Leah
    January 16, 2017 / 11:46 am

    A couple of years ago I bought a bike and decided to cycle round Ireland, despite the fact I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was a teenager and had never cycled on the roads!

    I’d say go out on Sundays, nice and quiet. Also look for cycle routes/ cycle paths where there’s no or very little traffic official routes like the Thames Valley Cycle Way etc. Take the train and get out of London! Don’t be scared of hills! Just take it easy 🙂 I switched cages for flat pedals, made me feel more comfortable initially. Practice indicating and looking behind you without going all over the place!

    You definitely get used to cycling a new bike really quickly, just take a breath and be brave! It’s so worth it.


  4. Andrea Klettner
    January 16, 2017 / 6:51 pm

    Hi Sophie, nice bike! I cycle quite a bit, but only started using cleats last year. It wasn’t as scary as I thought – though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for cycling around London/commuting.

    I’m going on my first proper group ride this weekend with these guys – . Apparently they’re a super friendly group that leave no one behind (I’m really, really slow!).

    Have fun with the bike! x

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