I’ll always remember the first time I rode a bike, I was 11 and after numerous attempts, I finally managed to stay up and glide through the beautiful countryside of Kerry, for about 10 minutes. And so began my week of cycling: it was bliss and it ended there. Afterward, the bike went back into the shed to gather dust and I wouldn’t cycle again until the ripe old age of 19.
“Cycling is muscle memory”, they say.
Aged 19 I tried to cycle again and I failed. Heck, sometimes even now after my many many stints, my motor skills fail me.
Comfort and ease finally came when after a party, drunk, and with no way to get home, I was put on the back of a bike and sent on my way. And it worked. And I kept getting on the bike and soon I was cycling a lot. And soon, I could even get on sober.
This feat doesn’t really count though, because it all happened while I was in the Netherlands, one of the flattest countries on earth.
The government has recently implemented some new cycle lanes in the city centre (yay!) but some of them are entirely nonsensical. For example, travelling to town from my house will have you change the side of the road you’re cycling on twice in the one lane way of traffic. It’s confusing.
There are further plans to pedestrianize parts of the city and make it safer for cyclists. Yet, for the moment cycling around Dublin scares me. Bus drivers are aggressive. So are taxi drivers. Other drivers. Other cyclists, pedestrians, pigeons… You get the picture. There are unpredictable hills to mount which can prove tricky for those of us carrying covid kilos.
Join my group for anxious cyclists and let’s create a safe space where people can share tips, good beginner routes and peak traffic times to avoid. Where those less experienced among us can vent about lycra-clad cult followers and people with road rage.