Biting the exercise bullet

My first bike was a second hand ‘bone shaker’ which I got when I was aged about 10. It had a steel frame, traditional shaped handlebars, an all metal bell (which I regret not having kept!) and soft tyres! (I was not very diligent about mending punctures, so my dad decided to “inflate” them permanently with rubber tubing. So the tyres never went flat, but the downside of this idea was that the they were never properly inflated either. This modification made the bike hard to ride and rather heavy). When I left childhood behind, I was more than happy to leave the bike behind with it!

It was quite a few decades later that I purchased my second bike. I needed to get some exercise and wanted some activity that could be easily built into each day and did not consume large slabs of time. Riding to and from the office seemed the logical solution.

I had no idea what sort of bike to get and bikes had changed a lot since my first purchase. My partner had also had a few bad experiences with unsuitable bikes, so we opted for extreme comfort rather than speed! I purchased a Giant Anthem 2 – a mountain bike. This bike had suspension in both front and rear and disc brakes, amongst many other features which I learnt about later.

Riding a rail trail

Getting fit before going to France. Riding the Anthem on one of the many railtrails in our local district.

Many people may wonder at this choice, but with a few modifications (eg putting on some smoother tyres) and adding some “Old Man Mountain” bike racks, it was ideal for the job. The ride was superbly comfortable, and I still feel as if I am relaxing on a comfortable chair when I ride this machine.

This faithful steed has taken me well over 15 000km now and has been in the mud, done many kilometres on the road and tracked cross country routes in livestock paddocks. All without a murmur of protest. It has toured in Europe and the UK and surprisingly, is easier to ride when loaded with gear than when unfettered with bags and racks.

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