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Twenty Twenty One; Done ✅

On the first of January 2021, I set myself a few challenges. These ranged from baking cakes to learning new recipes. Studying to reading. Yoga to cycling. Some I have achieved, others not so much. Life just got in the way.

One of them however was to cycle 5,200 kms over the course of the year. 52 weeks at 100 kms a week seemed reasonable and so it began. I had originally set myself the challenge of never cycling below 75 kms a week; I failed on that by the end of April. I did toss all one week. Diddly squat. Some weeks are just super hard.

To compensate for the lack of activity some weeks, I made up for it in others. My most intense cycling week covered a painful 242 kms.

Some weeks it was a breeze. Others an out and out chore. I persevered. Some days I was cycling three times a day to progress it. Literally morning, noon and night. Ridiculous. Amongst it I’ve done a 130 km ride. Six 100km+ rides. I’ve completed the Etape Loch Ness. I’ve loved cycling. I’ve hated it too. I’ve cruised. I’ve fought. Even achieved a queen of the mountain. It’s a rollercoaster. But one I’ve hung onto this year, sometimes only by my beautifully manicured fingernails.

My Etape Loch Ness compatriates

At the beginning of December, I really wondered if I could achieve it. I was 200 kms behind my target. I actually wondered if I could be arsed. I had a very intense period at work and my head was not in any kind of zone. At all. I doubted myself. I convinced myself it didn’t matter. I convinced myself I didn’t care. But deep down I knew it did. I did. I wanted to complete it to give me something to build on for next year. Well, I just wanted to complete it. Period.

I’m awfully pleased to say that today….. it is done. 5,205.2 kms. Tick. The last 600 kms were ridiculously hard. Detested many of them. But one pedal stroke at a time I did it. To say I’m relieved would be an understatement. Oh and a little pleased with myself too.

So what have I learned?

1. Don’t flipping wait until December to cycle hundreds of kilometres. December is not a month with an abundance of spare hours, so that really wasn’t big or clever.

2. Build rest days / weeks in and don’t berate myself for using them. The guilt I feel when I don’t ride my bike is way too intense. It’s actually counterproductive and I end up feeling doubly bad because I feel bad. This only results in me cycling less, not more. It’s very silly.

3. Set less challenges next year. Be realistic of what I can achieve. The frustration with being an optimist is in thinking way too positively about everything, including how many hours there are in a day. There are 24 Helen and you need to sleep. Your plans are just not physically possible.

4. Oh, and there’s a quote I’ve read “don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life”, however I would change this to “don’t get so busy making a life that you forget to live it”; I have found myself so busy that portions of time I’ve been unable to just enjoy it.

5. Oh and the last and probably most important one? Just keep pedalling.

2022 sees 3 events in my calendar. Etape Loch Ness in April where I aim to finish in the top 100 women in under 4 hours. Etape Caledonia in May. Ride the North in August. And while I’m so tempted to chase 5,555 kms, I’m more interested in promoting some kind of consistency to my cycling rather than distance. But we shall see. Some of those Conqueror challenges look quite fun.

In any case what a year I’ve had. A healthy mix of sunshine and showers. Contentment and vigour. And I plan for 2022 to be another absolute belter. Flipping amazeballs.

Much love and HNY when it comes,

Helen x

Been. Done. T-shirt. Cycling shirt actually.

Despite COVID, social distancing, a few false starts and two postponements, in August 2021 I succeeded in achieving my goal of completing the Etape Loch Ness Sportive. 106 kilometres, tens of them arduous, 1200+ metres of climbing, one monster akin to a horror movie, 3000+ riders, wind, rain and some sunshine, surrounded by some of the most stunning scenery in Scotland.

My medal & I. And yes I did get my nails done especially for the event.

Completing the route within 5 hours was a stretch target, but outstandingly and rather proudly, I pedalled home in 4 hours 12 minutes. I rode 106 kilometres without so much as one stop. My feet remained attached and inseparable from those pedals throughout. What a team.

My Prince & I

I had been massively lucky to have secured a Pinarello Prince Fx (affectionately christened my ‘Prince’) a couple of months previously. Despite global steel shortages, COVID and Brexit, it was a treat to myself for packing up my vices. I proudly pitched up at the start line with the most beautiful specimen of self-powered machinery I’d ever seen, let alone owned. My absolute pride and joy.

To say I was delighted really would have been an understatement. My bike. My time. To many of you, this route would have been easy. What’s all the fuss about? But for me, this was a tremendous feat. One of epic proportions in fact. Not only was my physical fitness under scrutiny, but my mental strength and confidence too. They were the known unknowns. And they each hung out there, blowing wildly in the wind, fully exposed, waiting patiently to be proven.

And proven they were.

It was a moment in my life I doubt I will ever forget. With the exception and misfortune of dementia, I’m sure the memory of the final 20 kilometres will last my entire lifetime. Never mind crossing the finish line. Just wow.

Happiness, exhilaration, excitement. So many emotions rolled into one. The stand out? Pride. Every molecule of my being felt it. Walking around afterwards with my Prince by my side. We had completed it and I couldn’t have been more proud of our partnership.

Two and a half years previously I was a bystander cheering my partner over that same finish line. It was the driving force behind my cycling getup. When the adrenalin wore off, it was replaced by the beautiful realisation this was now my finish line too. My moment. My achievement. I had done it. I was on a self-induced high for the following week.

As an aside, there is a Scottish movie called “Trainspotting” which follows four drug takers and recounts the highs and lows of their ‘sport’; there’s a slight twist in the tale where one decides to take a different path. It’s both hilarious and harrowing. I digress, however, the strap line is “Choose Life”.

During the final kilometres, crossing the finishing line and the moments following, I very much felt I understood what it meant to have ‘chosen life’. And for doing so I very much felt life had repaid me in bucketloads.

So why share this story today? Well, today is the day I signed up for 2022’s version. The excitement is truly palpable in my tiny part of the world.

I know 2022 will be different. This year I simply wanted to finish, next year I aim to reach the top 100 women finishers, in under 4 hours. I will give it everything I have and sometimes a bit more. I know what to expect now. Most notably, I know I can do it.

That’s quite nice.

Bring. It. On.

All my love

Helen x

One Way Ticket to Procrastination Station

I’ve done literally nothing for the last two weekends. Visited friends. Met my niece for coffee. That is the sum activity total. Oh yes and baked a chocolate cake and chocolate fondants which have been completely and selflessly devoured.

Cycling? Nil pointe

Actually any exercise. Nil pointe

Big fat fail.

Adding insult to injury…

Studying, well that was a bit hit or miss too.


The angel on my shoulder is reminding me the exams will not pass themselves. The devil on the other is performing active eyerolling tricks as a form of distraction whilst sticking their sausage fingers in my ears, singing tra-la-la-la-la. Exams, exams, did someone say exams?

My life is a persistent trickle of achievement. At least some kind of simple progress. Doesn’t have to be significant thankfully, which is good because it generally isn’t. But it’s something. Anything.

Without it my head has no idea what to do with itself. It’s entirely lost. It thinks more than it should about things it shouldn’t. It creates a list of things it should’ve done but didn’t. And conversely an equally long list of did but shouldn’t have. Before I know it I’m a wreck. Literally guilt ridden at my profound ability to introduce a whole new level of lazy to mankind.

Ridiculous? Yes.

Real? Also yes.

Oh and I’m not sure it counts, certainly not towards anything ‘good’, but I watched back to back episodes of nonsense TV too. I’m not even going to admit how many episodes, but suffice to say I genuinely believe my brain may be a lesser organ as a result.

This will be a better week. Otherwise, please send help.

The Queen of Procrastination


Helen xx

Snug Bug Rug

Yes, we all know enough to recognise the phrase, but is there anything better after a hell of a day than having a bath, doing a face pack, putting a hot water bottle in bed, putting on my favourite pyjamas and getting into my wonderfully comfortable bed? I know there is, but this is definitely up there. I’m also not wholly sure if a face pack is a gender neutral activity nowadays, but if it’s not and someone is offended, just replace it with a more suitable equivalent.

I used to have a friend who didn’t make her bed daily, she saw no point when she planned to hop back into it the same evening. I always thought it a touch (very) odd. To get into an unmade bed is something I’d never do. I realise this is a first world problem, but the fact of the matter is, it’s just nicer. Everything is smooth. The feathers in the duvet are suitably distributed. Plain and simple. The effort is minimal for such a tremendously fabulous reward.

Got me thinking about life’s simple pleasures (and I don’t mean sex stuff).

Seeing a sunrise or a sunset. This gives me goosebumps. Every time. I’ve hunted them down on the way to and from work, climbed hills and ventured out in the middle of the night to see them. They make me feel alive, grateful and proud of our universe and it’s natural beauty. A sunrise is the greatest gift, a new day, another shot at adventures; it provides potential like nothing else. A sunset on the other hand, provides an opportunity to reflect, relax, take a breath and take stock. Both so stunning I could cry. And have done so on many occasions. A true sight to behold. And guess what? They are available most days.

Even with Sooper’s poor photography, still stunning.

Receiving a card, letter or postcard. Whether a child or a grown up, who cares? We ALL love receiving them. The more random the better. “I saw this card and thought of you”, how nice is that? These habits are dying. People hardly write letters anymore. Far less postcards. Cards are exchanged for Christmas and Birthday but this is being replaced by people requesting e.g. charity donations. I’m not saying the charity option is a bad thing, but hey, send the card, write something thoughtful. It warms my heart to be thought of and remembered.

Lucozade when I’m ill must be up there. Lucozade makes me feel better, even though it does nothing physically apart from ply me with sugar and other things any nutritionist would turn their noses up at, psychologically it dips far into my psyche and hunts down an association somewhere. Something nice. Something caring. If I could buy it wrapped in cellophane I would and I reckon I’d recover from my illness even sooner!

Being safe and warm when it’s raining outside. Waking up without an alarm. Birds chirping. Waterfalls flowing. Waves crashing. The sun on your back. The smell of honeysuckle. A fresh garden strawberry. Trees forming a tunnel above a path or road. Waking up without a hangover. An orchid blooming. A child laughing. An old person with their great-grandchild. A smile from a stranger. Perhaps a compliment. A simple bicycle ride.

Isn’t this simply magical? It stopped me in my tracks when I was out cycling.

There’s no end to the potential here and its all pretty much free. It does make me wonder why it’s possible we live in such a materially driven society. With all this beauty. Tranquility and peace. Surrounded by such humble and simple pleasures, I genuinely wonder how we could ever be discontented at all.

I will be happy today.


Helen x

Struggle Schmuggle

So after my struggles to get back in this funny old game again, I signed myself up to a training plan with my training app of choice, Sufferfest, now Wahoo SYSTM (btw not sure I like the new format, but I’ll probably get used to it around the same time as they change it). Three months of three hard weeks and one easy(ish)week.

Work is pretty busy, but I know I need to prioritise this if I’m to make progress with my cycling as I want to and get back to and improve on where I was. I have three busy evenings, prepping for exams, yoga class and a PT session, meaning mid week is hard, so I’ve taken to early mornings and lunchtimes instead. Get after it before or during work. One week and a half down and I’ve kept with my programme. Helped along by working from home arrangements; er em, thank you COVID.

I’m not lying when I say it’s pretty hard waking up an hour earlier. It’s dark. It’s cold. Safe to say my motivation at 5am is somewhat different to that which is present on a weekend morning when the sun is streaming in between the cracks in the curtain. But I’m there. Killing it.

Yeah right. Not quite.

But the pedals keep on turning. The kilometres are clocking up. I’m sweaty and hot. Sometimes frantically trying to keep up with the requisite cadence or power. Sometimes sitting back and recovering from my efforts. Either way, I trust the science of it all and hope to see some movement in some of those nasty numbers which had taken a tumble recently.

I will keep on trying. Working hard. Keeping one eye on the new finish line. I mean, if it doesn’t take effort, is it even worth doing?

Progress not perfection. Watch this space.

Love to all you guys out there who are also trying. Very hard. I salute you.

Helen x

Gift That Keeps on Giving

I’m a great believer in experiences, not things. Go places. See things. Make memories. When I’m gift buying, I’m more inclined to buy a concert ticket or a meal out, than I am to buy a hand cream.

The gift is given. The glee is experienced. The countdown begins. The event nears closer. The details are planned. The trepidation is palpable. The excitement mounts. The event arrives. The fun begins. The memory is made and lasts a lifetime. It’s a gift that keeps on giving, way beyond its anticipated expiry date.

Unlike the hand cream which last around 3 months; maybe less during COVID. In saying that, if any of my friends who have gifted me a hand cream are reading this, please, please do not think I don’t like the hand cream. I promise I love the hand cream.

Anyway, this strategy has taken me locally. Internationally. To restaurants. Concerts. Festivals. Comedians. Even the Monaco Grand Prix made it on this particular gift list. I’ve danced to many bands. Cheered at numerous sporting events. Each and every one an absolute treat. I generally buy a ticket so I can accompany the gifted soul; everyone’s a winner. They get to see their favourite band or event and are blessed with my scintillating company. Not forgetting the silent added bonus, I benefit from the memory of attending the event and seeing my friend having the best fun. Does life get any better that that?

The last 18 months however, added to the list of benefits to my gifting strategy, there have been the disappointments. Events cancelled literally everywhere. No one has escaped it. I have one event which, due to COVID and some other reasons (bad hip apparently), will not take place for five years following the purchase of the ticket. Yes, you got that right, five years.

That’s just a little bit crazy.

Anyway I digress.

Another benefit of this gifting strategy is, frequently friends and family plan lovely things for me too. They don’t all buy me hand cream (jokes). Most recently I attended a concert to see a fabulous band, Erasure, whom I love. Absolutely. After being imprisoned for the last 18 months, it was nothing short of delightful to be able to sing and dance in a sea full of likeminded fanaticals with a modicum of reckless abandon. COVID. What COVID? We drank (alcohol free of course), laughed and chatted and just had the best time. It was brimming full of fun, silliness and relaxation and rolled itself wonderfully into one fabulous weekend (apart from a unpleasant junkie in the train, but that’s another story).

Soopermunchkin dressed for Erasure success on the right. Accompanied by her adorable friends Denise Holloway and Nicola Davis.

I hear all the time “life is about balance”. I could scream sometimes as it’s one of those overused phrases that’s seems to feature everywhere. But of course I get it. Professional. Romantic. Health. Fitness. Fun. I must attempt to reach a healthy equilibrium across them all. A double helping of safe with a sprinkling of reckless. A stressful morning with a pleasurable afternoon. An arduous cycle ride followed by a chocolate bar. A safety net of savings with a frivolous Amazon delivery. The list goes on.

So it’s ok to hang up my bike today. Lay aside my cycling shoes. Switch off the turbo trainer. Forget macros. Protein. Nutritional value. Stop. Relax. I may eat the chocolate. Book those tickets. Drop into that restaurant I’ve been interested in for a while. Visit friends. Maybe even gift them gifts that keep on giving.

Because we are worth it. Another very overused phrase. Sorry.

Down & Out: Not Quite and I’m Learning

Today I had to face the fact that I’m not as fit as I was six months ago. Sad face. My FTP has reduced; was 163, now 148. My VO2 max is down; 47 to 44. Everything is down in fact, or up when it should be down.

Don’t get me wrong, that sounds overly dramatic; it’s really not all bad. I’ve achieved so much this last six months. I completed the Etape Loch Ness in just over 4 hours which was such a huge achievement for me, when I hoped for anything under 5 hours! I’ve done a 130km (80 mile) ride, I’ve beaten my 100km a week average. The list goes on. But imagine what I could’ve achieved if I’ve been as fit as I was in March?

I’ve spent a lot of time outside, enjoying the simple pleasures of many a bicycle ride. And that has been truly wonderful. The sunshine on my back, not to mention the surrounding beauty. But I’ve taken my eye off the ball or the foot off the pedal and allowed my cycling destiny to be decided by how much time I spend in the saddle, rather than the quality of that time.

As if to compound this, since August, I’ve felt tired. Sluggish. It’s rapidly heading for dark nights in Scotland. The clocks change at the end of this month, so it will get worse before it gets better. I say that like it’s a bad thing. It’s not really, its Autumn and being I am a lover of our British seasons, that’s great. Leaves are falling beautifully from the trees and the mornings are crisp and dewy. Stunning. But I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t resulted in me feeling a touch unsettled. I’m out of sorts.

So what now? Where do I go from here?

I can choose to be disappointed. Frustrated. Annoyed even. I can choose to have a break. Give up. Stop cycling altogether. But that’s not who I am. As a wise person once said, “life is not a box of chocolates, sometimes it’s a bag of frozen peas with freezer burn”, so with that in mind I’ve decided instead to find another gear. Turn that pedal just a little bit faster. Scrape even more mud off my shoe. Dig even deeper. This is my hobby and it’s my favourite pastime (if not somewhat masochistic). It’s worth that extra effort.

So…. I figure….

• It’s ok not to be ON IT all the time. When training for something, I’m in the zone; 100% focussed on the end result, the finish line. And then it arrives and it passes and then perhaps I’m a little lost because the focus has gone. My body / mind may also be telling me to take a break and that’s ok too.

• My training must comprise of both in and outdoor training for best results. I have always considered the turbo trainer as something I do when I can’t get outside. It’s not. It’s a tool to develop my fitness, just like the bike itself. A very helpful one as I’ve now come to realise.

• I must always have a new focus, a new finish line. No matter what it is.

Like anything in life, it’s all learning. Every day. Every mistake. Every failure. More so than the successes I believe. I will get back to where I was 6 months ago, and surpass it. I will continue to progress and develop my fitness to levels I never thought were possible for 48 year old me.

This human body is a tool which can be fed, watered, worked, trained and rested for optimum performance. As a layman, I don’t know how much feeding, watering, working, training and resting is needed. But that’s part of the fun of it, I’m learning.

On that note, I was up this morning at 6am to start all over again. Head down, bum up.

Progress not perfection.

A cheeky hello from an aptly named location, Tough, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

How to Celebrate Sobriety?

Another milestone comes and goes. 800 days of no booze. And still this wonderful gift just keeps on giving.

I’m fitter. I’ve cycled further. I’ve cycled faster. I’ve set goals. I’ve achieved them. I’m mentally tougher. I’m physically stronger. I’m more motivated. I have more savings. I have a permanent job. I am more focussed. Anxiety pretty much gone. Stress under control. The list goes on and on.

All because I don’t drink.


Since I’ve embarked on this journey I have met many different individuals at various stages in their journey with alcohol.

People who don’t drink. At all.

People who have converted to an alcohol free life. In some cases after meeting someone like me.

Some people who are very occasional users of it. Take it or leave it people. Happy to be designated driver people.

People who use the stuff to relax, be sociable and have fun. A bit fuzzy in the morning but still fully functioning people.

People who are managing their drinking. Only having a glass of wine after 8pm people. Or only drinking on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday people.

People who are the life and soul of any party. Wake in the morning feeling ill people. People who tell themselves they will not drink tonight when they get up, but do people.

People who think about alcohol a lot. When is it too early to have a wine people. Every day. Every occasion. Rain. Shine. I’m sad, have wine. I’m happy, have wine. I’m breathing, have wine. Dependent people.

All sorts.

I’ve pretty much been all of them at some point.

I used to defend alcohol quite vehemently. Like it was my friend. It made me feel terrible. Be sick. Fall over. Say mean things. Argue. Act out of character. Lose days. Lose motivation. Feel lethargic. Worry. Feel anxious. At the end of the day, it’s a carcinogenic substance. It’s a drug. And it’s incredibly addictive. No better than heroin. Except you can buy it from the supermarket.

Scary isn’t it?

Anyway. Not any more. It would transpire I’m actually done with it.

So I celebrate in my own way. I don’t say fill my glass to the top, clink it and say “cheers”. I just quietly go about my life, so secretly proud of myself and the special place I have carved within this universe.

Cheers 😜

Resigned or Re-assigned?

Similar to many others, I have been at home for the last 12 months. I have been furloughed (UK term: technically employed, but not physically working) for 11 of them.  

I saw the beginnings of working from home and to some extent the practical impact of working with COVID. I expected to get back to work later in the year, hopefully around September, but the market had another agenda. The Oil and Gas industry, where I generally entertain myself from Monday through Friday was desperately quiet.

I spoke to a guy a few years back; he had returned to work after an 18 month unplanned break. He told me he was unable to enjoy the time off, because he was so consumed with the worry he would not have something to return to.  I understood the concern, but I promised myself I would not be that person. To have this opportunity.  To be physically and mentally fit.  To have some savings to tide me over – not lavishly, but enough. I was going to enjoy every minute of it.

And I have.  

This sabbatical can only be described in terms of pure, unadulterated enjoyment.  An absolute blast springs to mind. I feel absolutely privileged to have been gifted this time. COVID or not.  I’ve cycled thousands of kilometres. Conquered two Munro’s, including the highest in Scotland. Practiced yoga around 5/7 days. Gained a qualification and am working towards another. Fully fitted wardrobes in my dressing room. Sanded and waxed my kitchen table. Completed artwork for my home and that of my friends. Made wooden planters from an old bed. Made dividers for my cutlery drawer. A water bottle holder for my cupboards from a long tube destined for recycling. Had my writings published in Womankind, a renowned worldwide magazine. I’ve perfected a pavlova, layered cakes, vegan recipes. Developed an electronic recipe and menu planner which spits out a shopping list. Baked bread and pizza.  Made my own pasta. Tortillas.

The list goes on.

And on.

My partner has also been off since June. I thought I may murder him in the early stages, but in addition to loving him (because he is a truly amazing human; sorry for the slush), I’ve reminded myself I actually really like him.  We are not a ‘living in each other’s pockets’ kind of couple, but we have developed a greater closeness this past year. We have had some Monday mornings where we have just watched a movie. I think, what do I want to do today? What would I NOT be able to do if I was at work? And a further rendition of Layer Cake was born. No pressure. No agenda. Just whatever comes.

I am not saying there have not been some moments of pressure during the last few months.  But they have been only moments. Wondering if things will pick up. Wondering if I’m getting too old. Wondering when I will have the requisite funds to retire for real. That kind of thing. But they are fleeting. I know everything always works out. I have a brain in my head. I am kind. I am real. It’s all temporary. I can do this.

And guess what? Transpires I can.

I had an interview last week.  I received notification on Monday that I got the job.  To say I’m delighted would be an understatement.  It doesn’t matter how many interviews I have attended in my life; it is always a great feeling to be wanted.  They had the choice of everyone.  But they chose me.  For whatever reason.  And they will only ever really know why.  They saw something they liked. Regardless of my jokes of adorning pyjamas on a video call (I wasn’t, honestly). It’s just my feeble attempt to keep things light-hearted.

So now. Head needs to firmly return to the game. 

Amidst the return to the ‘game’ I commit to remembering the enjoyment brought by simple pleasures. I will contentedly take what I’ve learned and enjoyed in the last year and continue with much of it. I imagine an earlier start will be a prerequisite, but at this time of year who doesn’t want to see more of the morning anyway. It is one of life’s true pleasures and provides outstanding potential. They give me joy.

So, it transpires, everything is going to be OK. I’m proud to be able to say, I always knew it would be.

Humble Hobby

I’ve never really been much of a hobby’s person.  I mean, I’ve had periods of going to the gym.  Hillwalking. Arts and crafts. That type of thing.  But never really a hobby and never something I’ve stuck with.  To be brutally honest, I’ve always considered socialising a hobby.  I did it a lot. Nurtured it.  Evenings out. Weekends away. Saturday lunches. Me and my girls had a hectic time together.

But then it became clear to me, I needed something else.  You may have read some of my alcohol-free journey posts; in which case you will recognise this as the likely catalyst. The subsequent COVID-19 socialising ban has further cemented this sentiment. 

I needed to stretch myself.  I needed to get a better understanding of what I was capable of.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I expect to win any medals. Or break any world records (or even local ones). But I think I’ve always had the potential of being relatively fit and strong.  Partly due to my physiology and partly because I’ve always taken an interest in sport and fitness. I care.  I’m 48, so there are certainly limits, but what can these legs produce and for how long?  How about the old ticker, still capable of beating calmly under pressure?  And very importantly how will my head cope with it all?

When I first set out on my cycling journey, I started with a 10km return journey (total 20km) along a very flat old railway line. A ‘way too big for me second hand’ bike, a pair of ‘hand me down, gents’ padded shorts with no bib, gloves with irritating fingers, which following ride no 1, I cut off. Humble beginnings to say the least.

There is no doubt the entire ensemble left a lot to be desired. But you know what? I did not care. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was dipping my toe in the water of a potential ‘hobby’. I had the wind in my hair, at least those protruding from my (yes, you guessed it, second hand) helmet, fresh air in my lungs and Scottish scenery to die for. I was out there trying it.  Not talking about it. Not thinking about it.  Just doing it.

None of this is long ago; I am not a seasoned cyclist by any stretch. I got my first new bike in August 2019, so you get a rough timeline.  Since then, I have invested in some long and short bib shorts which are wonderfully comfortable, some fluorescent, jazzy outerwear and a helmet which lights up like a Christmas tree. Oh yes, and a small emergency puncture and basic mechanic kit, two water bottles and a small treat bag.  I’m a little more equipped than when I first started.

I’ve subsequently cycled thousands of kilometres, few of them fast, climbed some tremendous hills, many of which I would never have dreamt I’d be capable of completing. I’ve talked to myself.  I’ve laughed at myself. I’ve even cried. But I’ve kept turning those pedals, kept getting stronger and continued to enjoy doing so.

I think I can officially say, cycling is my hobby.

Sometimes I feel like a tiny bit of a fraud because I haven’t had the same time in the saddle as other more seasoned cyclists. But then I remind myself everyone was once a beginner. I am entitled to feel excited as spring approaches.  I am entitled to feel motivated as I plan my first ride outside. I am entitled to enjoy it. Whether I’m a 48-year-old novice or not.  It’s all valid. Maybe sounds naff, but it is never too late to be the very best version of me I can be.  

Have a great day!

Helen x