Recently, Kendal posted on Facebook a photo of herself at the top of her first Col in the French Alps, we had such a great response to the shot, we invited Kendal to blog about her cycling experience.
I was with the response I got on Facebook from my picture. People used words like inspirational and many said it was the kick up the bum they needed to get out on their bikes and pedal away some miles.
I was very touched, but you have to know, I am nothing special! I’m just like every other FLAB following the Fat Lad At The Back page and wearing the kit. What I do on a bike is not fast and I think the only thing that makes it remotely pretty is the lovely FLAB kit!
I’m delighted to have been invited to Blog for FLAB and thought I’d start with how I started my cycling journey. If one person gets out on their bike as a result then I’ll be incredibly proud! But an idea had been put in my head. So I borrowed a bike. I borrowed some kit (I swear I looked like a bright orange version of the Michelin Man!) I put on a borrowed helmet and off I cycled to a local café popular with cyclists.
It was one pleasant April day. I was in my favourite place, curled up on the sofa… I probably had a bar of chocolate to hand too. A couple of friends were taking part in a 100 mile Sportive at the very end of August. 100 miles?! 100 miles of sweating, saddle sore, leg aching miles!? No way. Frankly I’d rather stick pins in my eyes!
But an idea had been put in my head. So I borrowed a bike. I borrowed some kit (I swear I looked like a bright orange version of the Michelin Man!) I put on a borrowed helmet and off I cycled to a local café popular with cyclists.
That ride was 13 miles - 6.5 miles each way. 13, completely flat, windless, traffic free miles. Well I was like a spoilt child. I whined and I moaned and when I got back I thought I’d died. I didn’t think my legs would carry me, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to sit down again, and my face was beetroot red and covered in sweat. It was not an attractive look!100 miles was never going to happen.
But what about 60? 60 miles in 4 months was achievable wasn’t it?
So, after one 13 mile ride that I was convinced took me to deaths door I went online and booked myself on the shorter route of this Sportive at the end of August.
I was committed to it now!
The training was hard, really hard, until I found a lovely bunch of Lasses through British Cycling. Lads and Lasses check them out, they have rides for all abilities, rides you can take your kids on, rides you can have cake on, rides with pub stops, but most importantly rides with other like minded people. Cycling is such a social hobby, and cycling in a group makes you much more likely to be seen by those pesky cars too!
So if arrange to meet the girls (I had some responsibility to them to turn up that way) and little by little, plenty of coffee and cake, and even more gossip the miles started to tick away. And you know I even started to enjoy it!!!
That August I completed my 60 miles. I think there was a lot of stubbornness and determination on there but I did it. And that feeling of crossing the line and seeing 60 miles on my cycle tracking app was indescribable! I’d done it. I’d chuffing done it.
The only problem was the big hole I now I had… I’d nothing to aim for now, I needed a new challenge – there was born London to Paris a year later, and I completed that to
So just over 2 years on from that day laid on the sofa. I’m still a Fat Lass. I’m still slow. I take good selfies by it’s still not pretty.But I’m out there and doing it. If I can do it, anyone can. I genuinely mean that.