Big Girls Bike-The Maiden Voyage


Who ever had the idea of putting on their kids party at the football club yesterday deserves thanks for the lovely day I’ve had. Lager and the words ” you busy tomorrow?” what a great combination. The first picture is Sarah, she’s the Mum of the Junior Cyclists classmate and yes, that’s a mountain bike she’s holding. Sarah’s been riding for about 8 weeks and today was her third ride out with me. In my special cheeky style I decided to show her the way to the meeting point for the Saturday club ride as she keeps telling me she wants to work her way up to riding with us. Let me tell you about our biggrin day today.


I woke up to the unprecedented sight of blue in the sky. OMG, what to do what to do? Was it finally time for my first ever ride on a road bike, I rather thought so. After taking the junior cyclist to school I had just enough time to sit around on MSN, drink coffee and put pedals on the road bike ( I have road pedals but no shoes yet so have to swap the SPDs between the tourer and the Focus) before Sarah arrived. Quick cuppa with Sarah, a lecture on decent pedals and a heads up on a second-hand road bike for her and off we go. We may have been a funny sight, me on my tiny road bike (well it feels that way after the tourer) and her on her mountain bike with flat pedals but riding with Sarah is always worth it. I took her through my Saturday morning route to the Vags meeting point. There are some awful little stretches of road and I was not disappointed by her attitude. She is putting the work in, not a whinge or stop in sight. It was harder for me to slow down and stay with her than usual, the Focus felt like a flying machine under me and I found it unusually hard to reel it in, especially after all that soul-searching on the point of working hard. So we chatted and a plan was hatched, Sarah wanted to work hard, I wanted to work hard. The compromise, I was going to throw myself at every up (up is code for hill, I used to hate them so much no-one was allowed to say hill at me, lol), hard. Wait for her at the top. If you know me you know that’s  a plan both unusual and ambitious. That’s how serious I am ok? At Stannington we stopped for photos and then took the scenic route towards Saltwick and on towards Ponteland, Sarah pedaling hard down the hills and me throwing the breaks on instead of freewheeling as I usually would. We got a warm welcome and 2 confused double espresso at Anna’s in Ponteland.

Just before setting off back for home Sarah asked me, where do you go if you take that turn off for Kirkley Hall? well, you go up quite a bit and down a bit and up a bit. So instead of going straight back the way we came where we went was to Ogle and Whalton, me killing myself to get up as fast as I could ( really) and occasionally doubling back to do it again with Sarah and Sarah working so very hard on that very heavy chunky beast of hers. At Whalton we turned towards Morpeth and that’s where things became soo much fun. Sarah started pelting it like there was free drink up ahead so I picked it up and passed her, slowed down to wait for her and she did it again. I was gobsmacked! Laughing my soul out, Sarah was attacking!!!! That’s the kind of  kamikaze mate I just love to have around. three or four times I blipped past her, slowed to wait and got this, culminating in my riding just in front of her laughing with joy and screaming at her to pedal harder, faster, to beat me. That was the highlight of my day. This girl who thinks she isn’t ready to join the easy ride is giving it six nought on a mountain bike after just 8 weeks against (admittedly not that fast, but still) me on my teeny tiny flying machine. I’m still grinning. She deserves a giant Hell Yeah for that.

We rode through Tranwell and into Mitford. I really put my heart and soul into those ups, everything I had I put into it culminating in my standing at the top of Dogger Bank in Morpeth making unholy cant gee-guh-gee-guh breathing noises waiting for Sarah. I don’t think I really understood I was capable of going up so fast but today I kept proving it to myself. Next one was the Whorral Bank, my up of hell… I hammered it to the top, or tried anyway, that was the hardest up of the day. At the top while waiting for Sarah I sent a quick text to the Magic James to tell him exactly how much I disliked this hard work idea he had impressed upon me. Then I waited, where was she? Nothing for it but to go down there and find out. I spotted her when I got halfway down the hill so turned around and did it again. Gah, why did I do that! After that it was just a short ride along the cycle path home. My friend was starting to flag which is completely unsurprising given that she’d made a fair few more miles than her previous best of 30 and at an increased average. I felt as though I’d worked harder than I usually would for 38 miles with a lower than usual average. After lovingly washing the Flying Machine down I collapsed in a giant hot bath and could have happily stay there.

That’s a lovely way to spend a sunny day and was the best introduction to a real road bike I could ever have wished for. I think I’m better at this than I thought, I hope I’m right. To Sarah I really do have to say in all honesty. If you really do want to ride with a club then you are more than ready. Do It. Do it because you will get to where you want to be quicker, smarter and you will be doing what you love ( I know you love it, it shows!) with other people who love it too. It’s only a couple of hours out of your life, come along, give it a try, what do you have to lose? ( I really want to see you attack again too! :D)

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10 Comments on “Big Girls Bike-The Maiden Voyage”

  1. andy phillips Says:

    Nice ride and very nice bike.

    • notthewowy Says:

      I can really tell the difference. I thought it would take me all day to get used to it but aside from a few minor adjustments I was off and away. I’ve had so much fun today. Cheers Andy

  2. Roger Says:

    Been enjoying your last few posts, and you’re doing a great job of bringing new members to the club – so thought I’d add you to our home page :o)

  3. James Says:


    So… medium group for you on Sat. No excuses, not with a proper road bike. No, sireee. No where to hide.

    ANDY… get her ass out on Sat…

  4. alan holmes Says:

    Lookin’ good in the photo.

  5. welshcyclist Says:

    How do you manage to write such long posts, no, I’m not complaining, I enjoy reading them, it’s just typing this short comment, takes me ages. By the way you do look good.

    • notthewowy Says:

      My specialism is Administration. I’m a qualified typist. Sometimes. If you think that’s weird you should see my keyboard, I got bored one day and swapped all the keys round. It’s fun to watch other people try to type on it. 🙂

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