So I set out this morning for my first meet up with my new cycling buddies. I worked out a route – fifteen miles each way – that I was fairly certain wouldn’t kill me, especially as I would be stopping for lunch half way through, and set off, slightly anxious about being late and thereby breaking their only rule. Thirty miles in total might not seem much to some people, but the longest ride I’ve done to date was 19 miles, and my bike is making some seriously worrying new rattling noises, so I was a little apprehensive, and quite pleased that I was going to be able to huff and puff up the worst hills by myself and not in some group ride where I would be holding everybody up.
Of course, as I did huff and puff up the worst hill, I caught up with two of them (this is no reflection on our relative speeds – they waited for me at the top) and we fell in together. While not, perhaps, actually in their nineties, they were certainly past retirement age and a good twenty years plus older than me. So I was a little dismayed, as we finally reached the pub and I collapsed at the nearest table, to learn that not only had they come from five miles further away, but that they were planning a slightly more challenging route on the way back (‘it’s a wee bit hilly’). We were then joined by another chap who lived only ten miles away, so had taken a more scenic route – 25 miles more scenic to be precise – to compensate.
The pub was pretty soon taken over with lycra and cycling talk, with me still the youngest there by some margin (and probably still the pinkest in the face too). We had excellent soup and tea and sandwiches and the conversation turned to types of bikes as my own was busy letting the side down in the carpark outside. ‘Och I used to have a mountain bike,’ said one of my new companions with a twinkle in her eye. ‘Back when I was climbing Munros, we got one to ride down those long tracks so we could do 2 or 3 of them in a day. But I’ve done all the Munros now so I sold it and stick to my road bike.’
After lunch, I turned down their offer of joining them on the tougher route and plugged my way back steadily up and down the many hills on this, the not so hilly route. They’re going to be climbing a mountain tomorrow. As for me, if my legs are anything to go by, I will be setting myself the challenge of climbing out of bed. When I grow up, I think I want to be like them. And I definitely want one of their bikes…