July 2020 – I finished a 1,200 m climb. It was not the first time.
Rewinding to March 2019 – I owned a foldable bike that I rarely used (maybe once a month going to the ice cream shop?)
How did this happen over the course of just 1 year and a half?
Take a coffee or a tea and continue reading – it’s not a short story 🙂
A bit of background information: I’ve never been a sporty type of person. More of the opposite – the bookworm that prefers to read a 1,000-page book rather than go outside and ride. Snowboarding during some winter weekends and pilates twice a week were my only sport-related activities.
Side note – I’m such a bookworm that I actually have a book-related blog that I started years ago. If you’re into books, check it out – Readers’ High Tea.
The spark – so what is road cycling?
It all started with my husband’s enthusiasm, who fell in love with road cycling at the beginning of 2019. For me it sounded like a great way to spend time together while doing sports, but I was not convinced at all that road cycling is THE right sport for us.
Why? Because I was terrified of riding on the road, so close to the passing cars.
Let’s start with a prototype
My husband had the brilliant idea to “prototype” what road cycling would mean for us – just to try it, no strings attached. In March 2019 we rented a road bike and went for a fairly easy climb in an area with few cars passing by. After 30 km and 350 m elevation gain I was exhausted … not to mention that the bike was a size too big and it was difficult to fully control the brakes. But I liked the overall idea 🙂
After a first (almost) success, we looked for other renting options in Romania – I really needed to try a bike that was my size! That’s how I found out that in Sibiu you can rent awesome bikes from LightCycling. This was one of the turning points in my road cycling journey, as I felt what it means to enjoy riding a good road bike.
Buying my own road bike
Few months later, in June 2019, I already knew that it would be nice to have my own bike. But choosing a bike is not an easy-peasy task – it is strongly recommended to try it before you buy it to make sure it’s the one. Say yes to the
At that time an opportunity appeared to spend a weekend in Lisbon – imagine my excitement when I discovered that there is an official Canyon renting partner in the city! Cycling in Lisbon was an extraordinary experience and the bike was … simply the one!
One month later, in July 2019, I was placing the order for my own bike. Yaaay!
2019 – the year of road cycling holidays
From there on, things happened fast. I used my own bike for many rides next to Bucharest (mostly flat scenery), and I also went climbing on the close-by hills.
In September we went for a long weekend in Mallorca – a tough and inspiring cycling experience. Two months later we went to Girona for a cycling-only holiday. That’s how I discovered the road cycling community and the amazing synergies between cycling and travelling.
For these trips I rented bikes from local cycling shops – despite my initial worries that it will be difficult to get used to the bike, it was an enriching experience that helped me better understand the differences between types of road bikes and different technologies (eg. electronic shifting).
What 2020 brings
The lockdown period in Europe, from mid-March till mid-May, meant that we had to cancel two cycling trips. The lockdown is still followed by many travelling restrictions. Despite this, I have high hopes for my cycling adventure in 2020. We started the season with a few rides close to Bucharest, then a full weekend trip to Sibiu and one-day rides to Sinaia. More rides are planned for summer and autumn, as we currently focus on discovering awesome rides in Romania.
My ongoing journey is not only about discovering road cycling, but also discovering myself – I learnt that I can climb mountains, I can ride on the road, I can ride clipped in … and the list goes on. Also, discovering the world by bike is a truly enriching experience. I am sure that travelling will not be the same again for us.
All this would have not been possible without the constant coaching and support from my husband, who understood that I had to take it step by step and face my fears one at a time. To many more cycling trips together around the world!
To be continued 🙂