Yesterday I was at work going through the usual routines and demands. Somewhere though at the back of my mind were colourful dreams, of cycling on an open road.
Imaginings of endless, wooded mountains, gentle babbling streams, heathers, mosses, ferns and peace, entangled around the other thoughts that naturally need acknowledgement, in the world of work.
During my working day at the moment, I meet, greet and help people make choices. Which inevitably means lots of strangers pass through my life, occasionally old acquaintances or friends pop by.
That particular day a local, older lady I vaguely recognised, reintroduced herself to me. She was looking surprisingly well. I knew she had fairly recently been bereaved and such an experience can take its toll. We began to talk in a hurried way, as after all I was at work, and she was accompanied by relatives. As our conversation extended, the subject of cycling popped up.
It transpired that this year she has taken up solo cycling on an electric bike……..in a big way. Bearing in mind she is 70 years old next year and cycle touring is a new pursuit. My mouth dropped open in amazement, I was totally taken by surprise.
Her most recent route was from the Isle of Barra to the Butt of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides. It’s an extensive bike ride, which includes a very challenging steep and lengthy hill between Harris and Lewis. Her long-term plan is to cycle around all the Scottish islands.
This particular lady has my full admiration, I think it takes an exceptional amout of bravery and determination at 69 years old, to start solo cycling anywhere and over any distance.
Needless to say I have been inspired by our meeting, it is good to have exchanges with cycling women, particular the more mature ones who are going solo……..we are a significantly increasing minority!
The most well-known older lady, who started solo cycling when 55 years old as a complete novice, was an ex headmistress named Anne Mustoe. Her first book, written in 1991, A Bike Ride; 12.000 Miles Around the World, is a gem. A beauty to read if you are in any way feeling, ‘over the hill’ or not fit enough to cycle! During my 40’s I came across this particular book in a New Zealand library and thought to myself…….’If Anne Mustoe at age 55 years old can cycle long distances without any experience, so can I!
Those of you who read this blog now and again, will be well acquainted with my own personal motivations for cycling!
There are of course a multitude of different reasons, for any woman to take up solo cycling………
If you are a woman who has done any cycling on her own, it would be great to hear about what inspired you to jump on a bike, and pedal away into your journey, short or long…….