In My View: Pedal power has left me out of puff

Cyclists enjoying riding around the Holkham Estate for the Pedal Norfolk Cycling Festival. Picture:

Cyclists enjoying riding around the Holkham Estate for the Pedal Norfolk Cycling Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

You know what sounds like a great idea? Cycling.

Becky Rushton, columnist for the Norwich Evening News. Picture: BECKY RUSHTON

Becky Rushton, columnist for the Norwich Evening News. Picture: BECKY RUSHTON - Credit: Archant

'Leave the car at home and cycle to Aylsham,' Becky told herself one fateful morn. 'It's under two miles away and it'll be good for you'.

Becky clearly does not know what is good for her.

Firstly, I have a bone to pick with Google Maps. I know it probably wasn't their intention to make me feel bad, but the combination of understating both the terrain and the time it would take me to get there has left me feeling particularly unfit.

'Mostly flat'? Have any Google employees TRIED cycling from Marsham up the hill to the roundabout, coming up to the Aylsham sign?


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I was convinced that if I pedalled any slower I'd tip sideways. I thought about standing on the pedals and powering through for a quick boost. My knees soon convinced me this was a terrible idea and I returned to my seat, defeated.

Also, NINE minutes? It takes me that long to stand outside my front door and convince myself that cycling is a good idea. Nine minutes in, I had decided that it was not. My legs were jelly, my thighs burning and my self-esteem in tatters.

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Now, I'm not the fittest girl in the world (if you haven't already come to that conclusion yourselves) but I'm no couch potato either. I've always had an active job that keeps me on my feet, Benji doesn't let me get away with staying indoors on my days off and I can proudly say my cross trainer in the lounge has never had so much as one piece of wet washing hung from it.

And yet, cycling up a slight incline has utterly defeated me. I'm sure that you're supposed to get better at things like this with practice, but every time I've made this short journey I've felt like I'm actually getting worse at it, my endurance is lower and I'm a little closer each time to getting off and pushing.

There is one thing for which I am eternally grateful, however - the cycle path running up the A140.

Not only am I kept safe and away from traffic, but traffic does not have to navigate around my pathetically wheezing self. No risk of my previous worry about teetering off sideways under the wheels of the X44.

Dismounting and crossing two lanes of traffic at the roundabout is always a fun little adventure (if you're taking the first exit coming out of Aylsham, use your indicator, please and thank-you), but I'll take that over joining the traffic using it.

One morning my well-laid plans to cycle to the local supermarket in the morning fell apart a little bit and I ended up taking the car. It turns out fitness karma had already worked out my comeuppance for my cycle-scuppering, and I returned to my vehicle to find a fresh new scratch on the wing.

Maybe a trolley, maybe a handbag clasp, who knows. I'll be the first to admit I'm a little precious about my property - mainly because I take such care to ensure I don't damage other people's things, what with me being a normal human being possessing such character traits as 'consideration' and 'respect' - so my drive home was punctuated with many a grumble and scowl.

Nevertheless, I learned from my laziness - my tyres are pumped up, my lights are functioning and I'm ready to gasp my way up the road on my next outing. Just spare my feelings and don't look back if you pass me on foot up the hill. I'm trying my best.

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