Anxiety, Confidence and Being Happy (On a Bicycle) …

person riding bicycle
Photo by Bogdan R. Anton on Pexels.com

Some of you might know that I’m doing a wee bicycling trip through France next month. 1150km of pottering along cycle paths and tracks, through villages, past (and into) boulangeries, and following the coast south all the way to where my husband’s family will, fingers crossed, be waiting for me with aftersun, paracetamol and a vat of ibuprofen gel.

I’ve chosen the scenic route which with any luck will mean avoiding the lorries and buses, but may of course mean that I have to endure the sound of my own voice and thoughts for many, many hours a day at a time. Thankfully I’m no singer so there won’t be any renditions of The Sound of Music, but I do ponder on whether I’ll be ok with just … me. It’s not a safety thing, God forbid should some poor fellow think it’s wise to take on this feisty old bird! No, it’s more about being bored of my own thoughts and if things get bad, will I be able to stop the downward spiral of negativity without my usual routines and a practical and heavenly husband just a few miles away.

Well, time will tell and any suggestions are genuinely welcome.

I’ve been going out most days and gradually getting stronger, fitter and more confident. People on the road never fail to astound me however, cyclists and drivers alike. Yesterday I had only three shrieking moments, once with a lorry cutting me up, once with a woman suddenly deciding to cross the road and the last one, much the worst, with a fellow cyclist in front of me deciding to ‘gob’, yes ‘spit’ his phlegm out which promptly landed on my leg. Arghhhhh! Yes, I damn well did give him hell. To be fair, he didn’t know that I was right behind him, but did his mother teach him nothing?!

I got a little lost as per usual, but found Fleet Street, The Strand, Covent Garden and little secret squares tucked away with the occasional terribly smart restaurant hiding within. Beautiful. I was looking to bicycle along Southside which I’d heard was rather fun, but having been stampeded by a school trip of children simultaneously with a group of Japanese tourists I made a bit of a diversion, not even sure if that was Southside.

I ended up in the borough of Lambeth which is dodgy old place, well the part I was in certainly had little to recommend it. Huge tower blocks, screaming children, an ominous feel about it and a few too many ‘young’ loitering (with or without intent I know not). Certainly the blood was pumping as I passed a small group of lads who thought it amusing to try to intimidate me. Standing up on the pedals and pushing on hard, I got past in one piece despite one of them thinking he might outrun me on his skateboard … pfff … as bloody if.

At the far end of this particularly dubious area however I found myself at The Vauxhall City Farm. Quite extraordinary to find Alpacas and chickens in the middle of London. I stopped and watched and listened as two girls had rather an amusing discussion as to whether or not donkeys were carnivores and their safety was in question.

Having a little bell on a bike is now fairly pointless, as people 80% of the time who are walking, have headphones on so can’t hear you, dogs are unpredictable (nearly took out a Dachshund last week) and other cyclists … well I’ve only overtaken three so far and one of them was stationary. I think perhaps I need a socking great foghorn instead, but being slightly highly strung myself, I may well find it’s not awfully good for the blood pressure. I give myself enough frights … the other day in the bedroom I was opening the sliding door of my husband’s cupboard and screamed blue murder as I discovered someone standing in front of me in the cupboard. Dear God! Thankfully it was in actual fact just my own reflection in the mirrored cupboard door, but I needed a bit of a lie down after that. You get my drift … perhaps a foghorn is not the answer.

I’m getting fitter of that there is no doubt and my stamina is improving (particularly with the incentive of a bloke on a skateboard shouting obscenities and chasing me). And the other day I managed to overtake a girl going up a particularly long hill towards Wandsworth as her boyfriend waited patiently at the top for her. It felt good.

I still have a long way to go and watching a YouTube video in the front garden on how to change a bicycle tyre last Friday certainly was a little too public as I ended up having various very kind and well meaning people offering to help, but that wasn’t really the point! How sweet they were, but as I explained, I do need to work out how to do this for myself! People are kind really, they’re not all axe-murdering psychopaths.

So onwards and upwards. Have a lovely day my friends and remember, if you’re in London, avoid the dodgy end of Lambeth past the farm, and for certain, avoid a blonde bicyclist wobbling her way through town with an array of expletives on the tip of her tongue and a rather pathetic tinkly little bell on a bicycle called Claude.

Katie xx

What are you doing that makes you happy today?

32 thoughts on “Anxiety, Confidence and Being Happy (On a Bicycle) …”

    1. Well I’m arriving from the ferry at Roscoff on the 25th of next month and husband will be in Moliets et Maa from the 19th August with other family members arriving before and after. So it gives me plenty of time at a nice steady pace whilst camping at night and a bit of leeway either side. I just hope the weather will be good … I’m a fair-weather lassie for sure! Oh, and I reblogged! Hurray! It was easy, so beware … any more of your good posts and I’ll do it again 😀⛺️⛺️⛺️

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      1. I want to blog, but it will mean doing it on my phone which I’ve never done before. Presumably it’s possible. A book? Are you teasing me?! Hmmm, well I’ve started a children’s book which is perhaps more at my sort of level!

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  1. I’m so excited for your cycling adventure – it sounds awesome! I was going to suggest audiobooks for any stretch where you may want a little distraction, but then realised it might be quite foolish to compromise your hearing on the road. Perhaps use just one ear phone in that case. I really love the idea of just the sights and sounds around you, but given the time and distance a bit of “company” might be nice here and there. I listen to audiobooks on my drive to work half the time, using an app called Bookbeat – monthly fee and you can listen all you want. Anyway, thought I’d recommend but also realise I don’t know how safe it is to not be able to hear approaching lorries or what have you!

    And yes…. Lambeth is NOT nice. 🙂

    S xx

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    1. I think you might be onto something here because whilst I’ll be going through the occasional town and village, 70% of the route is on cycle paths and tracks in which case, an audiobook could be perfect. It also might be rather nice in the evenings … Thanks for a very good suggestion! Kxx

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  2. I worry about being left with just myself sometimes as well. I’m certain you’ll spend the time composing fantastic blog posts on weighty subjects like …the difference between British and French phlegm, perhaps. (That happening to me would surely cause me to vomit; so, good on you for not.)

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  3. Oh good grief …. I’m very happy you escaped from the seedier depths of Lambeth unscathed! I’m also very glad that you found yourself carousing with Alpacas in Vauxhall – surely such a surreal experience should be compulsory in a life. Particularly when one is on a bicycle with a pointless bell. Quite marvelously strange which is just as life should be. And how nice of people to offer – that’s the best thing about this whole post … the acknowledgment that people can be jolly nice and the irritation at the context. Your journey through France will be magical. And I believe that you will find that the very best companion in the whole wide world for you is simply you. Bonk Betty on the head with a stale baguette and focus on the beauty of a place you love … all shall be well – I know this, I have special powers 😉 xx

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    1. Ha! No I’m really not brave – I have a complete aversion to frogs, slugs and worms which is tricky for my gardening and I cry a lot whilst skiing! I’m actually a bit of a wuss but I’m working on improving this … You and your swimming however, now that’s brave. Great admiration for you there. 👍

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