In May last year, I made my way to Whitworth Park to take part in some walking and cycling photographs. Little did I know that it would also be the day that I got a feeling for two wheels again.
Getting back on a bike
Other than trying out the short-lived Mobike in Manchester, it is a rare occasion for me to get on the saddle of a bike. Not because I don’t enjoy it. Or that I am scared of riding on city roads. It is mainly because I didn’t have a bike at the time. Having had over seven stolen, you tend to opt for a bike free life after that. It’s cheaper and far less stress.
Saying that, I had always dreamed about a Brompton. Compact, nippy and I can take it indoors with me when I’m home and out and about. I believe that these reasons make many people stump up the cash for the British folding favourite. Having never tried one, though, and being the frugal northerner that I am, I never really entertained the idea past the dreaming stage.
That is until I got to try one on the day we were doing the photos for Transport for Greater Manchester!
Trying the Brompton
I originally attended the photoshoot to stand proud for walkers and pedestrians in our city. To show that you don’t need a bike to get around. What happened was that I left with a passion for both. The freedom to wander on foot when I wanted and the dream of putting my feet to the pedal to go on further adventures thank my steps could take me. I have to say that for a funny looking bike, it is comfortable, fast and very cool!
Having arrived at the shoot ready to walk my way into the photos. I was also quite happy to take part in the cycling bit too. Not having a bike, one of the staff lent me her Brompton for me to use. I was instantly in love with the bright orange colour and it fitted me to a tee. It was funny how even the other participants agreed that it looked perfectly like my bike.
Getting over the wobble
Anyone who hasn’t been on a bike for some time knows that initial wobble when you get back on. It doesn’t last long, but you certainly notice that you’re a little rusty. I guess it took me a little longer to adjust to the Brompton as the wheels are so small, which means each turn is so much tighter. This meant that I was turning before my brain had really caught up! I enjoyed that we had time to get used to things before heading onto the road and also got a taste for the free cycle training available through TfGM. It was an excellent reminder of the rules of the road for people on bikes. (I’ll admit that I was pretty chuffed with myself about the amount I remembered from my cycling proficiency test many moons ago!)
Falling in love with the ride
Once out on the cycle lanes, I realised just how well designed the Bromptons are. Despite the tiny wheels I caught up with the other bikes in no time. Nippy, agile and more comfortable than they look when you see people on them. I was taken from the moment I was able to pick up some speed. It got me wondering whether I would enjoy one of my own. My only quibble was that I thought I wouldn’t be able to wander so much on a bike. It feels like when you head out on your bike that you’re on a mission. It was certainly something I needed to think about. That and the grand price tag of one of these amazing pedalled devices.
Getting back on two wheels
When I was younger I used to cycle train on the local country roads. Out there at any opportunity I had. It is one of those sad rights of passage when you take up driving in your teens and your poor bike gets neglected. It didn’t really help that a lot of my friends lived on the other side of the Wirral so driving was the speediest way around.
Getting back on two wheels on that day for the photoshoot really reminded me how fun it can be to pedal your way on an adventure. I have a great friend, Allysse, who is a brilliant inspiration for normal biking. No special kit. Going your own way and enjoying the journey.
When all is said and done though. Getting back on two two wheels was excellent and I couldn’t help imagining the adventures I could go on with a folding bike. The hunt was on. I was on a mission to find something to help me become a wandering bike rider as well as someone heading out on foot.
It is amazing how one opportunity can change you in an instant!
Are you a cyclist or bike rider? Or do you need to get back on two wheels?
What are your tips for getting back out there?
Let me know in the comments! And here’s to new adventure on two wheels!
CREDIT: Photos from the TfGM photoshoot with my good friend Paul Jones.