The Accidental Cyclist

It came up again in casual conversation as it almost always does….

“So, when did you start cycling? I guess you’ve been at it awhile?”  ( you can also interchange “running” as well with these questions)

Ok, I’ll admit I love the opportunity to share sports I’m passionate about especially if it encourages someone to want to get out and try it. It’s obviously  fun for me when the person is involved in whatever activity  and we can “talk shop”.  I use those times to pick brains and learn more from someone who might have more experience in the field than I do.

So when the question came up I shared  I had only gotten my “real” racing bike a year ago but there was a catalyst that propelled me to that because before then I felt like…

A Wanna Be Biker Chick

I usually back up to the fact that running is my passion, and as passions go I had thrown myself whole  heartedly into my love and also picked up an injury that had majorly side lined me from my passion. (Heavy training for a marathon, straight into a 50k… but it was so worth it)

I had a bike, a cheap little mountain bike, that I used for cross training days when I’d give my legs a break from running. There were honestly weeks that went by I didn’t see the bike. I loved running. I didn’t consider myself a cyclist. I was a runner.

bike pic
My mountain bike that would start it all…


I was at Walmart one day and realized they had cheap little “road” bikes for sale.

Ahhhh perfect I thought. This will get me moving more on the bike and I can maybe start training for “something”.

A road bike was, for me, an upgrade from a mountain bike.  I still did not see myself as more than a casual bike rider. But none the less, I started packing some miles on it. About my only nod to looking like a cyclist was wearing a helmet ( for heavens sake…always…wear a helmet no matter what)

See. I told you. Nothing but running gear, a helmet, and my trusty road bike from Walmart.


I’d see “real” cyclists flying down the road in their sleek clothes, bright helmets, feet clipped into pedals, on bikes that were the price of a good used car and think those are REAL cyclists….

I still felt like a wanna be biker chick.

I took my trusty new road bike to a local shop in town for a “tune up” before I started pushing more miles on it.

The tune up cost me what the bike did.  Seriously.

By that time I had been logging some real miles, using it as a substitute to fill my craving for all the  miles I wasn’t getting on the road running. I was already entertaining the very lofty goal of the duathlon if my feet would just heal up already.

I shared this tidbit with Mr. Knowledgeable Bike Shop Man … he nicely said..” I don’t think this bike is going to work for what you’re wanting to do.”  He then of course started showing me nice pricey little bikes he had available and I just thought he was trying to upsell me and make some money.

Ah. Little did I know.

A year rolls by…..

I had been seriously abusing my little bike. I was logging anywhere from 45-55 miles a week on it. I was getting hooked. I still had my duathlon dreams lurking in the back of my mind and the bike gave me the adrenaline of miles without beating my body up.

As things happen in life I came across a nicer road bike for re-sale. I had taken it in to another bike shop to have them look at it and to see if it would fit me (when you have a long body and long legs you gotta consider these things!)

Of course, the bike was to small for me.

As luck would have it, he had a bike that would fit me perfectly. He wheels out this bright, shiny red  Cannondale that looked like the equivalent of a sports car to me. With a few tweaks and adjustments he hands it over to me telling me to “take it out for a spin”.

So pretty… just waiting for miles….


I am hardly dressed to ride that day in slim fitting black pants and combat boots but he didn’t have to tell me twice. It only took minutes in the saddle to feel the difference and know this was a game changer.

This would help me get to my goals.

As I came zipping back in feeling like a kid with my hair flying everywhere ( the only time I rode without a helmet) I knew I had to have that bike.

Yet still nagging in the back of my mind… you aren’t reallllyyy a cyclist….

The bike was on sale. He had a limited number. I left that day and basically started selling random possessions no longer needed and squirreling that money away. Within a month I had not only the money for the bike, but also for cycling shoes ’cause I was doing it all.

I was getting the racing bike and shoes to clip in.. geez I thought running shoes were expensive!

As luck would have it, when I got to the bike shop he had one left. He has told me over and over how glad he is I got it, that it was still there for me.

He (still) tells anyone in the shop when I’m in… “DUDE! She was riding 50ish miles a week on a Walmart bike!”

To which I get looks that you would receive if you said you had just hiked the Himelaya mountains… one does not simply ride that many miles on a Walmart bike.  I have sense learned… things fall apart on them at the most inopportune times… like when my handle bars started turning every which way but loose and I had like 5 miles to keep riding back trying to hold them in place. Good times. They are designed for spins around the neighborhood with your kids but not beating the life out of them 25+ miles at a time.

Maybe I am a cyclist…...

Hanging out in a bike shop talking with like minded people who don’t think you’re crazy, who are ridiculously smart on the topic, and push you to your athletic goals is a cool thing. I realized that they completely considered me one and were willing to help and teach me things ( as in learning to change a tire)  I was in recently talking about my training and he referred to me as a duathlete and I looked around thinking he meant someone else.

I told hubby later and he was like… “uh… you ARE a duathlete.”


We just celebrated our one year anniversary together.

No. Not me and the hubby, me and the Cannondale that is. I’ve put over 1500 miles on it which compared to some riders, isn’t a lot, but for me it represents lots of training miles, lots of discipline and learning new things. I’ve become stronger and more confident in what I’m doing. I take it in frequently for it’s free tune ups and to talk bike stuff with people who still know more than me. Since I have (officially) signed up for my first duathlon which is in November, I have a team at the shop that will make sure my bike is in top condition for the event. That’s kinda cool, I think.

So I’ve been burning up the road. A wounded runner turned cyclist…turned duathlete…maybe I really am one now….

But I’m more of a rebellious, nonconforming cyclist……

First, I break all cycling rules by acknowledging another cyclist who’s sailing by me. I mean… we are passing each other… can’t miss one another… but I’m always blown away at how many seemingly look right through me. Runners are so different on this score… in the cycling world I think it’s some unwritten law to not acknowledge each other…

I do have more gear now. The helmet of course. I just got a cool new Giro a few months ago. Of course I have their cycling shoes as well and even though learning to clip and unclip and all that goes with it was a learning process, it definitely helps deliver a lot more power on the bike. Now I can’t imagine not riding clipped in.  A lot different than riding in my running shoes from a year ago!

Ok, maybe I do get a little excited over new gear 😉


But you will most likely find me on these warm days in nothing more than my sports bra and my running shorts. Yeah, my running shorts. I do have cycling shorts but training for a duathlon and having to run, I find my running shorts work better. So I’m training like I will race. Although, November is gonna come around and change things up 😉

A lesser known thing about cycling, learning to perfect your selfie skills on the bike 😉


Cycling can get crazy expensive so I invested into the stuff that matters ( a good bike, shoes, helmet) and I fly on the cheap with the rest of it. I love some of the cute cycling kits available but prices on them are crazy so… until I get a sponsor for my fav’s … I’ll keep trolling Ebay for cute ones with good deals 😉

I am a cyclist.

Cycling girl. And in my most recent acquisition from Ebay. How cute is this jersey??



The “wanna be biker chick” idea left a long time ago.

Even if I accidentally stumbled into the world of cycling, I’m here. I’m in it. I’ve found another sport I actually enjoy and it turns out, I’m pretty good at.

As the guys at the bike shop tell me “You wanna be better? You spend more time on the road. You ride. You push yourself. You learn.”

So I continue the journey, on foot and bike. constantly grateful for the opportunity to do both and excited to see where I can go from here.

With open roads, the challenges are unlimited.

Tell me, have you accidentally stumbled into something only to find a new passion?

As Easy As Riding A Bike

So I took my bike out for a few miles yesterday.. first sunny day in quite a while… I soaked it up.  I also went out for some miles this morning.

Big deal you are probably thinking, slurping your morning drink, you’re always on your bike or doing something crazy.

What’s new?

True. The difference is I just bought my first, real, professional road bike. Or as one of my friends put it, “oh, you’re getting one that’s the price of a new Kia!”

Haha…. well not that much I assured him…. maybe just a good used Kia 😉

I’m excited to be getting more serious about this sport. I know I’ve written about some of my cycling adventures, but this far consider myself to have been dabbling in it. ( although some of you would laugh at my 20ish mile rides as “dabbling”)

I’ve had an inexpensive road bike I’ve ridden the wheels off of, I’ve literally used all my running gear to ride in, and other than having a helmet and something on my bike to track distance, those have been my nods at anything “cycle” related.

I just got on my bike… and started riding.

Fast forward… through a series of events… I was a local bike shop… fell in love with a sporty, fast, red and black Cannondale and knew I was going to get it and take my athletic skills with a bike to a whole new level.

And I picked my baby up on Friday.

How beautiful 🙂


But not before they put me on the bike and tweaked, adjusted and made me ride it to make sure everything was in alignment for me.

I’ve never, ever had a bike that fit my 6’0 body like this one. Nor, have I ever been able to fully extend my legs on one. I can actually lean in and over the handlebars flying down the road and not feel like I’m gonna go over the front. There’s a lot more bike under me now. Of course, it’s a whole new adventure  because my body… is now positioned very differently… so I’m learning to adjust to how that feels from how I’ve been riding.

And light. Can I mention it barely weighs anything? I’m learning to make adjustments in certain ways for that.

Oh yeah. And all the shifting…let’s not forget that part. I’ve determined it’s a skill to really get it perfect.

I got some schooling on clipping my shoes into the pedals ( if you can call those tiny little things pedals haha) and I have to admit to feeling a little weirded out like… “I’m locked onto a pedal… how the heck do I get my feet disengaged? What if I crash??  And  how do I start and stop and all that stuff??” I didn’t know, and you probably don’t either, but clipping in gives you a lot more power on the bike. I’m all about utilizing my power as much as possible, so as long as I was going all out, got the pedals to clip into over the cages that came with it.

Pedals. We’ll use that term loosely 😉


Eek! So much to learn.

That old adage, as easy as riding a bike ? I think that is really only applicable when you’re 8, riding a bike with a banana seat, your feet are what stops you and the only gears are how fast your legs pedal.

That’s easy.

And cycling is more complex than buying a good pair of running shoes and hitting the road haha

New challenge now accepted.

If there’s one thing I preach to people when they start looking at some type of exercise activity is to 1) make it something you want to do and will look forward to doing 2) be an excellent student of it.

That’s how I’m approaching moving deeper into the world of cycling. I’m learning from people who know, I shamelessly pick their brains,  and I intend to apply the knowledge and be the best I can at it.

I have goals.

A duathlon is definitely in my sights and now I have a team at the cycle shop who can help me become the best cyclist I can. ( A duathlon, if you don’t know, is a run, cycle, run event)

For now… I’m doing some short rides (7-10 miles) just playing with the bike, getting to know it, getting used to having my body stretched out on it, learning how it handles, LOVING how fast it moves even without pushing hard right now before I head into longer rides.

The speed is a complete head rush 😛

I can’t hardly wait to get out on some long rides… to get so comfy with the bike I can push the speed… and to really log the miles.

For now… just a few baby steps before I head that direction….soon…very soon…

That’s my new adventure for the week boys and girls 🙂

tell me.. are you starting any new athletic adventure?  or expanding on one you’ve been pursuing ?


Wrapping a morning ride 🙂