I’ve been able to ride a bike since I was about 10 years old and I used to ride a bike to get to work and college until I got my driving licence and my first car. A bike back then was a way to get around and was soon ditched in favour of the car.
Living in England my bike was stolen from the back of the house but I was riding it so little (never!) that it was gone at least a week before I noticed! It wasn’t until we were married and back home in Ireland that I bought a replacement but I think I rode it less than 10 times in about 10 years.
In February 2013, at the end of 3 months of unemployment I going stir crazy and decided to give cycling a go. 4km on that cheap, heavy MTB nearly killed me and I still had to cycle back home! I kept cycling on a reasonably regular basis but the bike was holding me back. For my 40th birthday I traded in the Barracuda and upgraded to a pretty decent hybrid Carrera Crossfire 2 from Halfords.
I celebrated my birthday by cycling the Great Western Greenway from Achill to Westport.
I put in a lot of miles on that hybrid working my way up to 50km in one spin by the end of the Summer and finally 100km by the end of August 2014.
At this point I decided that I had reached the point where a road bike was the next obvious step and thanks to the Bike to Work scheme I was able to buy a Giant Defy 3 2014 aluminium frame road bike while still holding on to my hybrid for rougher stuff or cycling with the boys.
It was at this stage that I also joined the local cycling club Finn Wheelers which was probably the point where cycling became a permanent part of my life.
In 2016 bits were wearing out and I was easily convinced that a bike upgrade was more sensible than spending money replacing parts. I’d gotten to know the Halfords bike mechanic quite well and he sourced me a great bargain on an end of line carbon road bike with aero styling and a much improved Shimano 105 groupset. The brand was 13, an abandoned experiment by Halfords to create a new brand, and the model was an Intuition Beta.
I’ve had some fantastic times on this bike. Over 4 years I’ve ridden almost 13,000km, got into long distance Audax, completed the Four Provinces Challenge and cycled 210km in my longest spin. Unfortunately through 2019 and the start of 2020 my cycling dropped away considerably but this last month I’ve rediscovered my cycling mojo and enjoyed this bike to the fullest.
Today however, was my final, farewell ride. Tomorrow, I collect a new bike and trade in this one as part payment. Today was about enjoying that final spin and saying goodbye to my old friend.