Firstly, a belated Happy New Year to everyone. New Year's Eve passed me by really as I was struggling with a bad throat and head cold and was in bed by 10pm. I did get woken by one of the dogs about 10 minutes to midnight so turned on the TV and watched the London fireworks while Big Ben rang in the New Year. Now, maybe I am getting old, or maybe you had to be there, but I really do feel that 11 minutes of fireworks is excessive. As I watched all I could think of was the amount of money they must have cost, who would be paying for it and what it could have been better spent on. In my opinion 3 or 4 minutes would have been more than enough. And then they said that the team who planned the firework would have a day off and would then be getting on with planning the next year's firework display - a whole team for a whole year? Really?
Anyway, we are now in 2013 and although I do not make New Year resolutions, there is no question that this year my health is a priority. I really want to build on 2012. Having recovered from my pacemaker implant and getting my cholesterol back to normal it has really given me the incentive to continue to improve my health.
With that in mind I have taken on board a number of comments concerning how close I live to where I work and that I should cycle to work. This actually is a sensible idea on dry days. The route to work is level and I can take a scenic route along the canal, away from major roads which would only take about 20 minutes. The idea has been germinating for a couple of months now and I've decided it would be a great way to improve my fitness and keep my heart healthy.
And so I have taken the plunge and bought a bike. I collect it tomorrow and am really looking forward to picking it up although I have some concerns as to whether I will be able to ride it, having last been on a bike about 30 years ago.
So, we have made room in the golf shed to store it and over the next few weeks I will spend time re-learning how to ride it. I won't start using it for work until the home journey in the evening can also be done in daylight, but for now the weekends will be ideal practice days.
This is my new bike.
It's a hybrid bike: Hybrid bikes are designed to combine the best features of road bikes and mountain bikes to create an all-round cycle for everyday use. They can offer you the speed of a road bike alongside the toughness of a mountain bike, so are particularly good for commuting and recreation.
You should consider a hybrid bike for riding on different terrains - for instance if you cycle to work in the week, but like to ride in the park or on country trails at the weekend. They're also good for new cyclists who are yet to make up their mind on what type of cycling they prefer. Generally, they feature:
- Flat handlebars and upright seating position for comfort
- Tough frames made out of steel or aluminium to cope with all terrains and weather
- Either multi-purpose tyres for speed and grip, or smooth tyres that are better for road cycling
Hybrids frames allow you to easily fit additional accessories like bike pannier racks for carrying bags, mudguards and chainguards to protect your clothes from spray, and comfy saddles for everyday riding - all of which make them ideal for commuters.
I've been very sensible and also bought a safety helmet and a basket to put my handbag in while I'm riding to work.
And it's got a proper bell!
We asked a neighbour for his advice, as he is a serious cyclist and he suggested this one or a classic.
This was the other bike he suggested, but all I could see in my minds eye was the image of the wicked witch of the west as she cackled across the sky in the Wizard of Oz.
It wasn't for me!