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55 Days Left

Posted by
09 Jul 2014

“Can I tape this pillow to my saddle?”

So, I now have a working bike, a helmet, and the weather to take the thing out on the road. Which I have, twice now. The first outing lasted about half an hour and I managed 2.6 miles (10% of the Bikeathon). The second lasted around 1hr 30mins during which I cycled 6.5 miles (25%). I hope there isn’t a time limit on the day!

Being more used to a motorbike in recent years, working out how everything works on the pedal version took a while. Well, I’m  still working on it…

For example: the switch on the left handlebar is a gear stick, not an indicator – I need to stick my hand out to tell people where I’m intending to go. The left lever is a brake, not a clutch – pulling on it suddenly will stop the bike (probably in a skid). Putting my foot down on the right pedal does not slow the bike down – it speeds it up.  Twisting the right handlebar grip does not make the bike go faster – only my legs can do that. And finally, I look up and cannot see what’s behind me – why don’t they put mirrors on push bikes?

I think I’ve found out what I’m going to do with 22 gears (there should be 33, but the nice repair man couldn’t fix that without replacing the whole system). Fortunately, I suspect I’m not going to need more than about 6 gears.

This is a mountain bike, which shouldn’t be ideal for a road ride. However, I have realised that the big wheels may well be an advantage when riding round my home borough of Merton, where the road surfaces are in a very sorry state. Since it has the off-road capability, I rode it across Mitcham Common yesterday, only to discover that half the greenery is nettles, and the rest brambles; neither of which are bare-leg-friendly!

Oh well, plenty of time to sort out all the minor problems… Aah, it’s only 8 weeks! And I MUST do something about the saddle.

If you're moved by my commitment to beating blood cancer by riding through nettlebeds, please donate on my page.


Abbi D

Thanks for your brilliant and funny post Alison! I wish you the best of luck getting to grip with those gears (I also wouldn't know where to start)!

Good luck with your fundraising too - you're well on your way to your £250 target!!

Keep blogging :D


Thanks, Abbi. Yes, I can already upgrade to the jersey! :)

I think the 33 gears are more appropriate to riding up Ben Nevis, rather than round London...



Loving the idea of adding a pillow to the bike, Alison! You've got to do this for the actual Bikeathon - will certainly stop you being saddle sore!