At exactly 6:13am today,
I stepped out for my usual morning ride, for the fifth day in a row.
I recently acquired a bicycle, learnt how to ride, on my own, and have taken up cycling as an hobby and as part of my workout regimen.
One thing is for sure, I feel better. As a human.
I’ll like to tell you about my experience in my first five days as a cyclist. I find it funny. You might too.
Prior to getting the bicycle, I had a couple mixed feelings and concerns , one of which was the fact that I didn’t know how to ride.
I imagined people saying
“Ah, Farouk, at your big age, you don’t know how to ride a bicycle”,
but I surprised myself by picking up on day one. In under 10minutes, I was moving the distance. I’m not perfect yet, I have almost smashed my head on the windscreen of stationary cars, almost hit moving vehicles and almost hit an old woman. But I guess all these are part of the sport.
So, Day 1:
Cold morning: I started with the steps I watched on YouTube. The basic fundamentals of cycling are balance and pedalling, every other thing is built on these two. So i worked on my balance, then pedalling, and in minutes, I could go a distance without needing to drop my leg.
I went out of my close, down to the main street. I felt like a champion when. I got back. I was getting it.
Oh. One funny thing this day. I had the “wrongest” clothes on. I wore the native wear from the previous day on a white vest , a jacket and a flipflop.
I felt embarrassed when I saw another cyclist with a Jersey and shoes.
I decided to improve on my outfit. T-shirt, joggers and a running shoe.
It was a Monday, a work day, so more vehicles on the road. I had to do a bit more maneuvering. It was more tedious because I explored a newer, rougher route, I was just getting used to the whole cycling experience. Coupled with the several speedbreakers on the main and safest road I ride.
Speedbreakers are simply not cool. Really not cool.
I mean, why do you want to break my speed?
Speed is everything.
No. Aero is everything.
But speed is important in the life of a cyclist.
With a little bit more experience, and a lot more fatigue and leg sore. I went on the wheels again. Uneventful day, except I saw some intimidating cyclists and I had to walk the span of a road, cos the road was rough and I couldn’t afford to risk getting hit by a car while I sort out my balance, beginner style.
Downloaded a few riding apps, and some kids held me down and were playing on my bicycle for almost 20minutes or so. Of course, their legs could hardly reach the pedals so I had to hold the bike and move them for the whole while.
At this point, I had gotten so interested in cycling and watched a lot of youtubes and read a couple articles. Basically, I knew more stuff.
Some of which include :
3. The hour.
Apparently, there’s a whole of things to learn about cycling
I started using Strava, and got some numbers for my riding. Lol. It was disappointing.
For context, the world record for cycling distance is 55km in the (one) hour. I rode less than half an hour (account for stops), for barely 6.16km at an average speed of 11.2km/hr.
I really have a long way to go.
And oh. I rode at night. It was therapeutic. Phenomenal. I tried racing with a Dominoes delivery guy. I failed woefully. Bloody speedbreakers.
I started compiling the list of riding Accessories I had to add. When you get into cycling, you always need more.
Today was probably the most eventful. Stepped out at 6:13am, as usual. More confident. Rode a newer route. Longer. I went all the way down to The National Stadium, before I turned.Got lost for a minute, then reconnected the roads.
I went through parts of Surulere I’ve never been to before, and came to a conclusion that Surulere has a lot of streets that have cars all parked on the road (no parking spaces or they are just too small). But really, isn’t the whole of Lagos State like that?
I saw one of the intimidating cyclists from Day 3. I tried to race him. Again, I failed woefully.
In retrospect, I outlined the causes of my failure.
1. He had a better(more sophisticated) bicycle.
2. He was more used to the road.
3. He was riding on the smooth part of the road, while I, the rough.
4. He was more experienced, more fit.
5. He had better aerodynamics advantage (clothes, helmet, shaven legs, wheels, gloves, jkjk, doesn’t matter.) Again, AERO IS EVERYTHING.
I feel happy with these excuses
To conclude, cycling has been a great experience for me. It’s something physical to look forward to.
It’s improved my mood. My health, I think — My mental health.
It’s improved my appetite also (for some reason, you have to eat something while you ride or immediately after)
It’s made me improve my daily water intake.
As I dropped my bike today, I said to myself, “Bro, you are taking a two days break, because your legs and buttocks are sore”. Maybe.
I’ll be writing more about my cycling experience, so if you found this piece good. Kindly check back when you get the next prompt.