I train mostly in Montpellier which is located in southern France and I love biking here. Beautiful quiet roads and plenty of mountains only 20 mins of pedaling away from my place. It’s a cyclist heaven. Sometimes when I’m out however, I remember that I didn’t always find it heaven when I first got started.
While I knew how to ride a bike, that was it. I had no experience riding out in the street with traffic, eating and drinking on the bike and forget about bike maintenance. There was a lot I didn’t know and honestly I wasn’t looking forward to the bike part. I liked the idea of three disciplines making up one sport but I didn’t see getting real joy from cycling just because of all the equipment and maintenance involved. But I was determined to be a triathlete so that meant getting to it.
So I started researching and bought a good quality road bike on sale. I really should have had clipless pedals but I asked the salesman to put on pedals without as I was terrified by the idea of clipping in and out. I did my best not to worry to much about the future- meaning mastering everything necessary to be a competent cyclist. I just wrote down all the things I needed to be able to do before entering a race and put them in the order that I felt was most important and most comfortable. So being able to ride on the road with traffic was first, second was changing a tire and third was moving on to clipless pedals for example. This all took a long time I want to emphasize. I just took small steps and had patience.
Having big overall goals is essential but once you have them only focus on the small intermediary steps to get you there. So when I’m happily biking now, and I think about all the things that terrified me at first that I now do without even thinking, I know it’s true; Mile by mile life’s a trial, yard by yard it’s not so hard, inch by inch and it’s a cinch.