We recently asked cycling, home & gardening blogger, Stephanie, about why she loves cycling, what her motivation is when it comes to two wheels and why her life is better because of it!
What kind of bike do you ride?
My bike is a Pendleton Somerby in white, with the all-important wicker basket. I’ve had this since April 2015, after initially starting out on a Pendleton Ashwell. Although the Ashwell was a beautiful bike, its weight (approx 18kg) but just five gears really didn’t work for me, especially on all the hills where I live in South London. When I swapped to the Somerby, a relative lightweight at 13kg and with seven gears, I couldn’t believe the difference.
Before these bikes I hadn’t cycled for many years; I had a bike but felt too hunched over to be comfortable, and so a more upright bike was perfect for me.
How far do you tend to cycle?
I tend to be an all or nothing kind of cyclist. In June this year we cycled for two weeks in France along lots of the Loire cycle paths, covering around 230 miles. Then, in July, I only notched up ten miles in the whole month! I’m hoping to even it out a bit more in the next few months though as I start a regular (but very short) commute to work.
I like to have a reason for my journey too. In France it was to see as much of the region and chateaux as we could; back home it’s often to collect a parcel, pick up some shopping, or, soon, to get to work. There are also longer rides with my husband, who would quite happily go out and cycle up and down hills for fun. To me, that’s not fun at all!
Do you prefer on-road or off-road cycling?
I don’t think you can beat a good cycle path, although there’s not too many of them close to where I live. They are improving but there is still a long way to go to match those we saw in France earlier in the year, or in Germany the year before that.
We often cycle in Norfolk too, where it’s mostly country lanes which can feel like our very own cycle path most of the time!
What do you enjoy the most about cycling?
Getting out and about and getting around more quickly than I can on foot, and without having to take the car. It’s also good to have a shared hobby with my husband, or rather I’ve adopted his, as he seemed to be having so much fun with it. You really do get a different perspective from a bike.
Do you prefer to cycle with other people, or alone?
I enjoy cycling with my husband. I’m sure I slow him down quite a bit, but he’s quite chivalrous about that. Often when we get to a hill I’ll say to him “see you at the top” and he’s gone!
I occasionally cycle on my own and that’s fine too, although it tends to be shorter journeys like cycling to my Pilates class.
Would you be interested in joining a cycle club?
We’ve cycled in groups, joining organised rides and that’s been good fun. I stay in touch with the local groups on Facebook and if there’s a ride that we fancy and we’re free then we go along.
As for joining a more traditional cycle club, that’s probably not for me – although perhaps I could be their first member with a wicker basket?!
What type of bike lock do you use?
This is something I could do better with, especially as I’ll soon be cycling to work. I’ll be getting a D-lock that will give me peace of mind leaving my bike unattended. Although I expect I’ll still be checking it more often than I need to!
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About Life at 139a:
I’m Stephanie and I blog over at Life at 139a where I regularly share where I explore on two wheels and my relatively recent love of cycling, including how I survived on two panniers in France earlier this year! You’ll also find posts on our home and garden, which we’re always doing something to and progress on our new allotment, which still needs a lot of work!
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