Bianchi vs Snowdon

One month into my cycling (and blogging) adventure and today I cycled up Pen y Pass. Pen y Pass is basically, I think, the highest bike climb in Snowdonia at an altitude of 359 metres (1,178 ft). I cycled up there today and the sense of achievement I feel is huge. Having not set myself any physical challenges for years, well besides giving birth to and raising two lovely kids, being proud is not a feeling I’ve experienced much recently and to be honest,  I love it and I am growing to love cycling too!

When I first took up cycling, just a few weeks ago, every hill was a pain, but without a training plan, other than just getting out on my bike as much as I can (literally in all weathers) I have managed to tackle an iconic ride and it feels good. All the experienced riders told me the best way to improve was to ride my bike as much as I could, and they were right.

I am really enjoying the freedom of cycling but getting out over the last few weeks  has also made me fall in love with the place where I live too. I so appreciate the beauty of Snowdonia, the mountains and the coast.

Its not all been a “love in” with cycling mind, I have some real “pet hates” see below,  but first take a look at these pictures which might help explain why I love Snowdonia –

 

My top three cycling “Pet Hates”are:

HELMET HAIR – Its so awkward when I meet someone and my hair is stuck to my forehead with sweat, not a good look.

LYCRA – Since my teenage years I have avoided like the plague anything clingy, now I’ve taken up a hobby that involves Lycra and accentuating all those lumps and bumps.

NAPPY BUM – The padding on cycling leggings is great when I am on my bike, but frankly looks completely stupid when I am just walking around in a Café.

Anyhow I must put vanity to one side and get on with riding my bike, I hear that there are much worse embarrassing cycling problems I could suffer from.

The best thing about cycling is the connection to the world around me and in particular to nature. Please bear with me I know how this sounds – but rushing from car to house, to car, to work, to car, to school etc. etc. I hadn’t really noticed what was going on “out there”.  On early morning bike rides I’ve seen foxes, mountain goats, robins, cows and of course, loads of sheep. Unlike in a car, the quietness of the bike is a lot less intrusive somehow.  I’ve also, for the first time in years, really noticed and enjoyed the changing of the seasons from Autumn to Winter. On the  shortest day of the year,  I am looking forward with optimism to Spring and continuing my cycling adventure.

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On a very different note, here’s a story from our local paper about my trip early in December to deliver aid and volunteer in Calais Refugee Camp.

 

Ar Fy Meic

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(bilingual post, please scroll down for English language)

Dwi wedi bod yn pendroni am ddechrau’r blog yma ers talwm iawn. Cymysgedd o ofn, diffyg hyder a diogi llwyr yn fy stopio. Hefyd ydi fy Ngymraeg i ddigon da?… Fe gawn weld.

Ta waeth, mae’n siwr fod sgwennu blog yn union fel beicio, galed iawn i ddechrau, ond ar ôl cychwyn, yn lot o hwyl…. Cawn weld.

Dwi yn newydd i feicio, ac i gyfryngau cymdeithasol! Dathlais fy mhenblwydd yn bedwar deg eleni ac roeddwn yn awyddus i gadw’n heini, felly dechreuais fenthyg beic fy ngŵr.

Dydw i ddim yn union yn MAMIL (Middle Aged Man In Lycra) ond digon agos (Middle Aged MAM In Lycra). Aeth fy tro cyntaf allan yn seiclo yn dda, a llwyddais i wneud yr Etape Eryri Bach, er cymryd dros 5 awr i gwbwlhau.

Penderfynais mis diwetha, allwn i ddim jyst dwyn beic fy ngŵr, os oeddwn o dyfri an seiclo byddai’n rhaid i mi brynu beic fy hun. Fe wnes rhywfaint o ymchwil ar y rhyngrwyd ac prynu Bianchi. Yna gwario dipyn mwy ar ddillad beicio o Aldi.

Cyrhaeddodd fy meic newydd, hyfryd bythefnos yn ôl, yn union yr un pryd a gyrhaeddodd Storm Barney a llifogydd yn Gogledd Cymru. Oni’n ysu i gal mynd allan ar fy meic newydd sbon. Llwyddais i fynd allan yn y pen draw, ac dyma rhai or llunia cymerais ar y ffordd.

Fel y gwelwch, dwi yn wirioneddol lwcus i fyw yn un o’r lleoedd mwyaf prydferth yn y wlad, Eryri. Dwi wir yn teimlo fy mod  a mantais go iawn dros rheini sydd yn seiclo ar diroedd flat a diflas.

Felly, bythefnos a tua chwe gwaith allan ar fy meic newydd – be dwi di ddysgu am feicio? Wel, fy nghyngor, i unrhyw MAMIL, Mam Anhygoel Mewn Iwniform Lycra, sydd yn ceisio ffitio beicio i fewn rhwng plant, gwaith, teulu, ayyb, ydi “Ewch allan ar ein Beic” mor aml ag y gallwch.

Peidiwch â dweud “Nai jyst rhoi’r dillad allan ar lein cyn mynd” neu “Bigai i Tesco ac wedyn mynd ar fy meic”. Bydd eich bore neu pnawn wedi mynd cyn i chi droi rownd. Cyn gynted ag y bydd gennych funud i chi eich hun, ewch allan a mwynhau. Fydd y holl stwff, rhaid i chi wneud yn dal yna, ond byddwch yn dychwelyd yn teimlo’n hapus ac yn llawn egni.

Felly dyna ni, dwi wedi gwneud dechrau gyda fy mlog cynta yn Gymraeg. Fy nod, ydi i ddilyn i fyny gyda mwy am hwyl a helynt seiclo yn Eryri, ac efallai hyd yn oed, rhai awgrymiadau defnyddiol i eraill sydd yn newydd i feicio hefyd….. Eto cawn weld.

Bike Like A Girl………Keep up!

I’ve been thinking about starting this blog for ages. Usual mix of fear, lack of confidence and downright laziness stopped me.

Anyhow, I figured it’s just like a bike ride, really hard to get started, but once you do, you enjoy it. So here I go…

I am new to cycling and to social media! I hit Forty this year and wanted to get fit, so started borrowing my husband’s bike to go for rides.

I’m not exactly a MAMIL (Middle Aged Man In Lycra) but I am as close as it gets (Middle Aged MAM In Lycra). My first go at cycling went well, and I managed to do the Etape Eryri Bach although it took me over 5 hours.

I decided last month that if I really wanted to get serious about cycling, I couldn’t just use my husband’s bike, I’d have to spend some money on myself and buy my own bike. I did some internet research and bought a Bianchi. I then spent a fair bit more on cycling clothes in Aldi. So I was ready to go.

My lovely looking new bike arrived two weeks ago, just as storm Barney and flooding also arrived in North Wales.I did eventually get out on my bike and here’s some pics I took on the way.

As you can see I am really lucky to live in one of the most beautiful places in the country, Snowdonia; so I feel I have a real advantage when it comes to getting motivated to go out.

So, two weeks on and about six rides out on my new bike – what have I learned about cycling?

Well, my top tip for any MAMIL, Marvellous Amazing Mams In Lycra, trying to fit in cycling with children, work, family, is simple, “Get out on our Bike” as often as you can. Don’t say “I’ll just put the washing out and then I’ll go” or “I’ll just pop to Tesco and then go on my bike”. Your morning, afternoon will be gone. As soon as you have a moment to yourself, get out and enjoy. All the stuff you have to do will still be there when you get back, but you’ll return feeling uplifted and energised.

So that’s it I’ve made a start with my first post, and I did quite enjoy it. My aim is to follow up with more thoughts on my cycling ‘journey’ and maybe even some helpful tips for others new to cycling. Anyhow, please leave your comments and let me know what you think so far ……