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  • Writer's pictureNicola Graham

Never ever will I ever wear Pink!

"Pink it's my new obsession, Yeah, pink it's not even a question, Pink on the lips of your lover, cause Pink is the love you discover"


Artist: Aerosmith

Album: Nine Lives

Release: 1997

Cycling, cycling, stop for a selfie and .. back to cycling!

I. Am. A. Roadie ... a "MAMIL", as previously explained. You know, one of those Lycra covered humans with a padded bum, leaving little to imagination, lapping parks early mornings, on a bike that is more expensive than some cars!

When not riding, I spend most of my time, thinking about cycling, maintaining my bike, preparing my nutrition for the next ride, or ... foam rolling my legs. Not to mention the fact that my massage tools now out number my <ahem> ... adult toys!

I proudly grin at the development of my odd looking tan lines, ‘that right of passage is on its way’, that only Roadies look in awe at. Walk obliviously around Sainsburys, in my white socks and sliders, fashion police have nothing on me, and whilst others go mad for the latest Mulberry bag, I go nowhere without my Musette 'Oh its Rapha Lauren Darlin'.

Sounds crazy doesn’t it … trust me I get it ... I really do! On reflection, I listen to our conversations and think ‘oh my word, listen to our conversation, and look at how ridic we all look'. In fact when I first considered getting a road bike, I genuinely thought:

I’m not paying over £500 for a bike and there is no way, I’ll turn into one of those people. You know, discussing whether continental 5000s are the bees knees of tyres and if Stages power meters are as crap as they’re notorious for (sorry but they are, don’t get me started!) … I’m not going to fall for this Roadie malarkey and I’m definitely not wearing pink’
I will never ever wear PINK!

But, you know what, I have proudly become one of those people, and I'm honoured to be part of a wonderful society of caring, driven, focused, determined, smiling humans that welcomed me with open arms & a wheel to lend! psst: this is roadie language for drafting someones wheel.


So where did it all begin? It gets a little personal, sorry Mr X, you know who you are, back in the summer of 2018, there is a song in there somewhere, I made a FWB. Mr X, like myself, sported a hectic lifestyle, but still desired companionship, so we started hanging out. Turns out he was a 'Cat racer' pssst this is a British cycling racing league for those who want to draw pretty circles on strava 😊. Also known as someone who trains their arse off, so that they can compete with other cyclists (all dressed in even louder team kit than the park riders you see) looping a track in a peloton, and sprinting to finish for a top position.

Being casual mates with Mr X, gave me honorary rights, to completely mock him for the ridiculousness of this sport. And in return he mocked me for the state of my hybrid commuters bike, dodgy ill-fitting helmet, greasy chains, and bike bell not to mention the healthy savings account I had back then!

‘You have potential though Darl, and I guarantee you that you’ll end up getting hooked, knowing your character, you’ll be sporting the Rapha before you realise’

He would tell me things like how he’d just spent 4hrs in regents park holding a RPM of ?, TSS of ?, BPM of ?! Or how his coach had planned his session to remain in Zone 2 I know I feel it too … WTF … AFA (another fucking acronym).

However, what I couldn't ignore were the really positive traits he had from this. He had a great social group, he was a determined, headstrong, focused individual who seemed to have a balanced lifestyle, something I really needed at the time, but we'll pick up on that later.

I decided that I would try this 'road stuff' out, and so began the search for a suitable club, and after some intense websites, I finally stumbled or at least my fingers did on the Richmond Park Roulers. They seemed like a friendly social bunch who organised weekend rides and trips away etc. So I took the plunge and signed up for their Saturday newbie lap.

I didn't own a road bike, and its was regulatory that you had one, so I borrowed my mates note: he definitely wasn’t a roadie, this bike had never been serviced, displayed worn disc brakes, a chain that fell off more often than knickers at a Tom Jones concert and squeaked from every part of the bike, which, as it turned out, also included any rider who risked riding the death trap he called a road bike!

I believe the name is 'Chopper ... Nic Chopper'

So Saturday arrived, I have my mates rusty bike, and I'm dressed to impress sporting my gym gear, trainers, and a back pack (with water, phone, bike lock, plasters, antiseptic cream & a pen nope I don't know why the pen either). I rock up to Coliccis rearing to go, to be hit by a wall of intimidating blue Lycra (aka Dynamos) and not one RPR member in sight. Now I’m not easily deterred, but as I looked down at what seemed like a good outfit choice before I left the house, all of a sudden rocking up on a bike that made more noise than a 80s Raliegh Tricyle and dressed like I’m about to attend a weird mix of yoga and mountain climbing, I felt incredibly silly and was about to turn and leave when I spotted 'O'crashi' (renamed from O'hashi as he was notorious for crashing) and Sammy … who, I didn’t realise at the time, would become a really great friend and an integral part of my life. One dressed head to toe in Rapha, the other in Assos, they both sat on shiny bikes, and wearing even bigger smiles, they immediately made me feel very welcome.

So, off we rode as a group, chatting and lapping the park, me creaking along, my chain falling off on most gear changes. Ego madam here thinking, I’m athletic oh yeah I've got this, soon discovered, that regardless of age, gender or size, every person on their bike pedalled effortlessly on each stroke, chatting and laughing like it was a Sunday stroll, whilst I however looked like something out of a Laurel Hardy sketch peddling fast and furious, breathing heavier than Darth Vader and sweating more than an entire 'Bikram Yoga' class.

How could these cyclists really be so much fitter and seasoned than I? Hmmm is this for me? Maybe I was wrong and I’m not designed for cycling after all (assuming that my thunder thighs would see me right)

So as the self doubt crept in, and I saw my moment to turn off out of the Richmond Gate, I hit a hill and began to descend. That was that, within minutes, my body kicked in and started pumping my blood quicker, I felt the rush of endorphins filling my body, and as I braved moving my grip from the hoods to the drops, I transported back to my child hood ... that was it ... I was Luke Skywalker sat in my X-Wing during a New Hope flying and shooting my way through the space, dodging the turrets trying to destroy the death star.

OK so at this point, the group may have looked strangely at me as I yelled pow and schrvmmm noises, whilst snaking across the road, but I didn’t care, I was hooked and ready for the next hill. This was until, to my surprise, I chose to pull the break lever and realised that this death trap I was on, didn’t want to stop with me. So, yes whilst I found my stroke, and become one with the bike (like a scene from Avatar), I also had a life lesson, that yes, its true, your life truly does flash before your eyes when you hit sharp bends at 40km/hr!

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