This was something I wrote just a few weeks into tandem riding last winter. As with many things experience brings a more balanced and perhaps a less dewy-eyed perspective, nonetheless it's good to recall my sheer amazement at finding myself involved in such an activity.
Well it's hard for me to believe too. I hate exercise; dislike the cold and the wet especially; hate outdoor wear and especially anything on my head (sticky up hair doesn't work with hats or any headwear and I end up looking like a rather grim Les Dawson impression of one of those women talking over the fence when my hair gets flattened. Just not the attractive image I want to project really.)
So what has happened you may ask that finds me out in the cold and rain, voluntarily I might add, on a Sunday night wearing waterproof jacket, yellow (yes I said yellow!) high visibility waistcoat, helmet and very odd gloves speeding along a busy road and actually enjoying it?
Well if you haven't guessed from the title it is my discovering the absolute joy and delight of tandem cycling. No one who knows me can quite believe I haven't had either a complete breakdown, personality transplant or perhaps aliens have abducted me and replaced me with someone else. But it's true. I do love it.
I've spent a fair amount of time in the two months since I first took my courage in both hands and put foot to pedal behind my lovely and cycling enthusiast mate, thinking about what it is I actually like. It's difficult to quantify really. Perhaps it is the sense of freedom, or the sense of the air rushing past you as you speed along eating up the miles, or the sense of togetherness and camaraderie one has with one's partner and other cyclists whilst trying to mind-read and avoid the many motorists who seem keen to scare, un-seat or simply kill us. Maybe it's even the odd squeal of delight as we are spotted, or the jokey calls of "She's stopped pedaling you know!". Do people think we haven't heard that one before?
It could even be the sense of sheer exhilaration when one finally makes it to the top of College Road and Fountain Drive without stopping and with less effort every time. Whatever it is it just feels good to be out and about, doing something good for oneself and the environment too and bringing a smile to the faces of many we pass.
Even when the rain comes on and one is soon as wet as one could possibly be there is a sense of us against the elements and of winning through adversity. Just don't ask me to wear lycra.