Who Am I And Why Am I Here?
No don’t worry I am not going to be preaching to you or discussing the meaning of life (we all know that answer is 42!)
I just thought I say a little bit about myself and my cycling “life”
I’m Steve 43 year old who has only been cycling 7 or 8 years. I work at The Christie Hospital on the haematology team so I get to see 1st hand the positive effect that the HaTS charity (one of the Tour de Manc headline charities) has on patients and families.
I can’t really remember why I started, think I may have seen the cycle to work scheme at work or something. Anyway my 1st bike was some old heavy mountain bike I “borrowed” off my sister. Think I rode it for about 4 months before deciding to treat myself to a Halfords £150 special. It was lighter but still very clunky. The next problem arose as I lived in a small terraced house. The new bike was locked in the out-house so the old thing was left outside, didn’t take long till some friendly person decide to relieve me of this bike. Sorry sister I still owe you for it!
When I started riding I was just using it to commute to work which was about 2 miles away. As I had never done any cycling on roads before, I thought I would do the sensible thing and have a lesson or 2. You wouldn’t just jump in a car and start driving on the road without lessons. That was my thinking anyway. My family thought I was a bit simple! Anyway I have got my level 2 bikeability certificate. Also when I started I wore t-shirt and jogging bottoms. I was never going to wear lycra!
I soon started enjoying the riding and looked for longer routes to work using my level 2 bike-ability skills. I was soon cycling 4 or 5 miles 2 or 3 times a week!! My goal at that time was to cycle to my girlfriend’s house 13 miles away from where I lived. I had a route planned out in my head and also had Google maps on my phone. This was in my days before Strava and Garmin. I set off about 7pm in the dark, not advisable on a route you don’t know. Something else you will learn about me over the next few months is I have no sense of direction. I arrived about 1 ½ hours later after getting lost several times, trying to hold my phone in 1 hand to see where Google maps was sending me ( I don’t remember showing me that on the level 2 course!) My phone battery died with still about 3 or 4 miles of unknown route to go! Overall not the best ride I have ever done.
Over the years I have slowly got a bit quicker and been doing longer rides. In 2013 I completed the Manchester to Blackpool. In 2015 I rode 1770 miles so my goal for 2016 was to ride more than 2000 miles and complete a 100 mile ride.
I thought the full Tour de Manc would have been too much to do my 1st 100 miler so I just did the half Manc, it was a great day and well organised. Great support at all the drink stops and lovely pasties and cakes at the end! That was in 2016.
I completed the Manchester 100 and ended the year on 2280 miles so overall I had a good year.
So 2017 I went for the full Tour de Manc and the tough 100 miles. I just needed to start getting out and hitting the hills.