Earlier this year I bought my first (as an adult) bike. After spending enough time with Jon, borrowing my boss' mountain bike (which I fell off and face planted the floor of the Forest of Dean) and spending my time at Battle on the Beach pootling around on a cyclocross bike I really, really wanted to get my own. I missed the feeling I got as a kid of tearing around on a bike, it felt natural to be on one again.
I don't know the technicalities of bikes, when I listen to Jon talk enthusiastically with his friends about bikes I don't get most of it, but I do know how much I'm enjoying it. I got into the velothon that went through my town earlier this year, I stood on the side of the mountain with some friends to cheer Jon on and then walked back into town to watch the pros come through. I've been watching the Tour de France on TV after work, I'm going to the velodrome in Newport next week to watch the Team GB women train.
After Battle on the Beach we spent one Saturday visiting a few bike shops in Cardiff. Tredz put me on a lovely Cannondale and declared it to be the right size...it wasn't. Two independent shops just didn't have anything that I fancied. It wasn't until Jon had a brainwave, why was I looking for another bike when I had enjoyed the cyclocross at Battle on the Beach so much? We headed off to Tongwynlais to visit his friend so I could potter up and down the street on his Genesis and I was sold. We drove down to the Bike Shed in Pontcanna and purchased me a Genesis CDA 10. I call her Betty. It's love.
Since getting Betty I've joined Caerphilly Cycling Club, taken her up to Coed y Brenin mountain biking trail centre where I took on the blue trail and had "Hard core!" shouted at me by a passing mountain biker. She's so much fun.
As much as I love Betty I've come to the conclusion that mountain biking may have edged road riding for my top spot. I decided that I would get a mountain bike so I didn't have to keep renting them (taking on the red trail at Coed y Brenin never could have happened on Betty, so I hired a full suspension bike for that). I recently spent a night and the following day in a field in Bristol at the Bristol Bikefest and was inspired by the women taking part, there aren't many of them and it's definitely a bit of a boys club, but I wanted to be out there with them.
Last week I turned 31. A few days before my birthday when Jon arrived for the weekend he gave me my birthday present a bit early. I've named her Bertha.
She's built by Jon and is the most comfortable bike I've been on so far. I've been out once with her up to castle woods near Tongwynlais and had a blast, it wasn't the easiest ride as I was still in the full throes of a horrid cold, but man, when I got going I was in my element. I'm sure I stand out a bit with long blonde pigtails but the boys are going to need to get used to it.
In a few weeks Jon are off on our first holiday, first to Slovenia and then to North Wales. We were initially going to the Lake District but after spending a few hours out on the trails on Sunday I really wanted to camp somewhere within driving distance of Coed y Brenin. It's not an easy trail centre, not for me anyway, and I fully anticipate coming home with legs covered in bruises and being tired but I'm so looking forward to more adventures on my bikes.
My blog is likely to take more of a cycling/camping/Cheryl is having adventures feel to it in the coming months, I'm still not sure what to do with it. I feel like it needs another re-name and re-brand to link up with the change of direction but that's a matter for another time.