When Cycling Changes Lives

I don’t know where to start or even where this post is going. Usually I have a coherent plan for my posts, even if they look quite random, but I’ve been going through some personal upheavals which always leads to thinking and thinking is never good.

And here was the thought: who am I? what do I want? Why when I can barely get off the sofa can I still put on my thermals and go riding all day. So, my point. Cycling changes lives. Is it for the better? Is my life better?

Lets think about this, when I started cycling I was 16 1/2 stone, I smoked and drank and got out of breath at the top of the stairs, my husband went out cycling with his friends while I sat in the house eating chips and ice cream. Coming home from holiday I realised how unhappy my lifestyle made me and I got on my crappy hybrid and started riding to work 4 times a week. This spiralled into joining a club and dropping a few stone and no fags…. just like that. Everything I do now is cycling centric. I do mean everything. If I’m not doing it I’m thinking about it. I’m talking about it, researching it, buying parts and bikes and reading books on training. I have read precisely one book that isn’t bike related in 5 months. I used to read 10 per week… Thats how deep it goes. Is this a good thing?

The good things: In no particular order.

It makes me happy, nothing works to alleviate the deep black days as well as pedalling.

My body is beautiful, I have womans legs, much smaller than they were and a waist and muscles, I love my body which is a new feeling for me and I like it.

I feel like me for the first time I feel true to myself, like I know who I am and what I need and deserve.

I have achieved something, quite a lot probably and it’s because I have worked for it and refused to give up. self-esteem is a wonderful gift.

I am fit and can run around with the junior cyclist, it’s not unusual for me to jog along beside him when he cycles to school then hammer his tiny bike home. In fact the Household Cyclist commented on how fast I’ve suddenly started walking today.

I feel a sense of purpose and that I have a value now.

I can share my good days and bad days with people who accept me solely for me, Carrie.

I have some pretty amazing friends now, on top of the two or three amazing friends I already have. I feel soo lucky.

 

The Other Things: In no particular order.

I’m not sure it’s mentally healthy to be this obsessed, many years ago I coped with the mental illness by means of a drink/fag/food/drug habit, am I swapping one addiction for another? Is that healthy?

Will these huge changes in my own self worth brought on by the cycling ultimately alienate me from the people who have always loved me?

Will it all get too much for me one day, will I just give up, collapse on the sofa and grow a few more spare tyres?

Am I becoming overly self involved? Is it ok to leave my child with a sitter every Saturday so that I can go torture myself and talk to people who don’t call me mam?

Did I steal my husbands thing from him? Cycling was what he did. I feel like I ran in and stole his thing. I feel sometimes like I violated his space but I can’t stop. Dont want to. Wont. So I also feel selfish. No matter how much he supports me, which is a huge amount. No matter how gracious he can be I have this irrational worry that I have taken something from him and he’s right to be annoyed about that.

There is one thing that fits into both categories, as a person I am changing, rapidly. I am becoming the person I deserve to be, whole, happy, sure of my own opinions, feelings, emotions and worth ( on the good days at least).I know my family and true friends want that for me but it’s happening so quickly and sometimes it seems to be rocking the very core of my existence and those close to me. How do I find the balance? how can I do what I have rarely done before and put my growth at the forefront of my life? How, when it’s all so unsure and hard for everyone do I continue to grow and change and become the person I am without forcing those close to me to do the same? It’s a conundrum for sure. One I think that will only be solved with time.

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26 Comments on “When Cycling Changes Lives”

  1. Alberto Armstrong Says:

    Chathill!

  2. andrea Says:

    Stop analysing it. Just enjoy it. It’s all good babe. 🙂 x

  3. oopsadaisy Says:

    OMG Carrie, what can I say…this is the one of the most well written and thought provoking pieces I have read…your passion is without question…infact it is infectious..I too become “cyclo-centric” after a couple of hours riding in your company.And No that’s not a bad thing….I have found that cycling awakens something inside, as “hippy”like as it sounds I feel more of a person…more alive..more “me” and that can only be a good thing!Enjoy those moments, share your experiences and never feel selfish for wanting to change and better yourself….oh and my final thought…you think too much…and make my brain ache…thank you!X

    • notthewowy Says:

      you watch too much Jeremy Kyle :p

      • oopsadaisy Says:

        So much for support!! …I will hereby reserve all comments for the hill billys on Jezza and silently sulk in corner 😦
        And one day thrash your ass on a downhill!!

        • notthewowy Says:

          bring it! yer mamma was a snowblower. lol. seriously though, I appreciate the support and gladly anticipate the day your downhill matches you pretty amazing uphill, at the rate you’re going that should be next tuesday. you ready for your first club ride then? see you week on saturday ok?? 😀


  4. What can I say, being a lardy biker myself and probably a selfish one I haven’t really given any thought to others close to me. Apart from the fact that if they think anything of you at all they’ll support you in trying to get healthy. Which the folk closest to me, I mean the ones I trust and love, all do.

    A lovely thought provoking piece though. But if it was me, I’d take the positives, chuck out the negatives and crack on. 🙂

    • notthewowy Says:

      Cheers mate. I find myself full of thoughts and am having one of those weeks where separating myself from my illness proved almost impossible, getting it out in writing really helped.

      Add to the fact that it was the Bi-annual Foster falling out… oh well, onwards and upwards huh?


  5. This is particularly poignant at present, Carrie – and I can relate to this post more than anything you’ve written before.

    You HAVE changed, even in the short time I’ve known you. Confidence certainly isn’t something you were lacking in but since losing the weight and getting fitter, you have more confidence. Either way, you’re evolving, changing, growing (whilst shrinking) and doing a really good job of it too.

    You’ve become an integral part of the Saturday rides – a club member through and through, and I know many of us look up to you and are inspired by what you do. You welcome new members in with open arms despite being new yourself, and you’re a credit to what you are trying to achieve.

    Every single question you’ve asked can only be answered by you, as they are personal. Personally, I’d love the idea of sharing my hobby with my partner, it’s something that can only help you grow – but that’s me. Sometimes people prefer it to be their time apart. Look at Cath and Lisa – they share it.

    I’m proud of you, and I’m proud that you can be open enough to discuss this stuff on here.

  6. danny winthorpe Says:

    Better to be obsessive about something thats good for you,than harmful.
    I think you have changed for the better since I have known you and the Saturday rides wouldnt be the same without you.
    I can identify with just looking after yourself,just being you,not someones husband or father cycling gives me that opportunity ,a chance to be me 🙂

  7. welshcyclist Says:

    Self analysis may cathartic, but it’s not for me. While I appreciate and admire what you have written, and agree with another’s comment, that your piece is very poignant, I have to concur with oopsadaisy. My cycling is a “hippie” experience from now on. Keep the posts coming.

  8. Phill Says:

    I have only one comment:

    Swapping a crap obsession for a healthy obsession is healthy, if you’re inclined towards obsession.

    There.

    • notthewowy Says:

      Do you think I’m inclined towards obsession? Do you do you do you? Huh huh huh? lol. I think it’s a common thing to worry about your life changing as your body does. Thanks for your support, I’m feeling better now.

  9. Joby Says:

    I agree with the man with too many LLs.

  10. Joby Says:

    I wish I was of Welsh descent – their cycling infrastructure is awesome 🙂

  11. trio25 Says:

    Amzing post, thanks for sharing. I have accepted I have an addictive personality so its not a suprise I am so obssessed with cycling. Like you I have unhealthy ways of coping before, without a doubt this is better for me. I only started riding in 2006 and only as much as I do now after stopping work due to ill-health, not sure it was what the Dr meant when he suggested I get out on my bike but he now thinks it is great.


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