Busy, overworked, unfit mummy? On yer bike!

“But Mango… Do you even have a garden?” My manager was staring at me bemused.

I nodded. “No.”

“Can you even ride a bike?”

“Haven’t been on one since I was seven”

“Then why on earth do you want to get a bicycle?”

On the face of it, I suppose it did seem a silly idea but to me it made perfect sense.   My name is Stephanie; my nickname is Mango (that story is for another time), and I work as a bank cashier with a quirky bunch in South London. I spend most of my time speaking to a lot of interesting people doing a lot of interesting things while I do the same not-so-interesting things daily.  Periodically, I decide that to spice things up I need to start a hobby, and this time I chose cycling. Here is why:

WILL – I’m always looking for ways to get fit and tone up.  When you have a small child and limited babysitting facilities like me, it can be hard to commit to the gym or classes.  I tried DVD’s but I would watch them once or even work out with them and now they are just sitting on the shelf gathering dust.  I see cyclists often and it occurred to me that I was not only slightly envious of their skills and confidence but that it’s something which can be done alone or as part of a team; so I could potentially gain the motivation and social element I yearned for from the gym but also that treasured ‘alone time’.  Better still, it is not something that has to exclude my son.

If you choose a new hobby it has to be something you really WANT to do.

TIME –I live alone with my 3 year old son Caleb, affectionately known as ‘Lebs’ (which is a pain for phones – they always edit it to ‘Legs’) and spend most of my spare time with him. The rest of my time goes on housework, and playing Facebook games in between (sitting on my butt not being very fit at all).  Big chunks of spare time are hard to find and this way I could squeeze in the cycling on the way to work and back, and en route to parks and other activities at the weekends.

You need something which can fit in with your life.

MONEY – Gyms and classes plus what it would cost to get regular babysitting is pricey business. Some gyms have a crèche but again pricing can get silly.  Bikes can be very affordable or very expensive depending on what you want. A lot of work places will run some sort of a scheme to help you get a bike to use for getting to work. I went with the cycle2work scheme which is with Halfords. You get a voucher for the amount you set and you can use it to get everything bike related and pay for it over 5 years.  Have a nosey here or ask your work place for more: http://www.cycle2work.info/. Also if you are not as lucky as me to live only a mile from work and can walk it then a bike can save you money on commuting!

Be mindful of your budget and check if work has any employee schemes

AREA – Whilst I live in a built up area, there are plenty of parks and bike lanes, hills and flats; quiet roads and very busy ones. Lots for me to explore and satisfy my sense of adventure.  Knowing your area and what you will use the bike for becomes most important when choosing your bike but still worth considering before even choosing cycling.  Cycling on road will keep your mind and senses sharp – an experience you won’t get from a gym bike.  I know that gym bikes and the ability to give your mind a rest whilst exercising has its advantages too, but I find I do better when my mind is fully involved.

Consider local terrain – the more exciting or accessible it seems to you, the better!

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9 thoughts on “Busy, overworked, unfit mummy? On yer bike!

  1. shalilah2002

    Thanks for following me. Even though my daughter is grown with a daughter I still identify with Mothers like you. I’m following your blog. Most of her life I was a single Mother.

    Reply
  2. radwagon1

    Hi Mango,

    Thanks for your nice comment on my single blog page (on WordPress). If you want to see a more, I’m on Blogger a lot more (www.RadWagon.co.uk).

    Aside from that, I’m very impressed at your enthusiasm and go-get attitude, cycling and the rest. It’s refreshing for someone who spends too much time faffing around with the unpleasant side of cycle campaigning.

    I’d certainly like to know how the Boardman bike goes. I think they are doing good things in the bike industry.

    Also, how you cope with getting Lebs on the bike. I take my Godson out sometimes, but it takes some work. Up here in Cambridge, we have a lot of different cycle-child carriers. I’m interested to see how things like that go.

    Anyway, good luck and thanks for the kind words!
    Rad

    Reply
    1. mangocherrysteph Post author

      I’m sure I’m yet to discover the more unpleasant things cycling wise! I’m going to write about the seat I went for at some point but it’s brilliant and has Lebs name on which makes him more compliant! I will certainly check out your other blogsite. Many thanks!

      Reply
  3. cyclingwithheels

    Thanks for the comment and for following my blog. Good luck with the cycling! I’m seriously impressed you’re taking it up now, with the weather being so awful. But once it does warm up (which it has to at some point, I’m sure) you’ll discover there’s no better way to get around than on two wheels.

    Reply
    1. mangocherrysteph Post author

      Thank you! I couldn’t wait any longer. I’ve been watching cyclists in admiration for so long now I just wanted to get out and give it a try. I’m starting slowly but hoping that come summer (if we get one) I will be sporting sexy legs and using the road confidently!

      Reply
  4. davyd10

    Hi Mango
    as we recently began following on twitter, thought I’d check out your blog. Firstly, I’m very impressed with your brave decision to take up cycling after not riding since childhood. Enjoyed your posts. Eloquent style and feel to your writing.
    You mention S. London so I thought you might want to check out both Lambeth and Southwark Cyclists. They have organised social rides, children welcome. All abilities welcome, no elitism. Very sociable and meet quite regularly. Will send you links via twitter. My twtr name is daviddubu64. Also you may want to get a couple of usefull apps. Eg. Sportstracker contains a cycle computer displaying speed, distance, calories burnt plus maps and routefinder. Enjoy your riding and stay safe. Anymore stuff springs to mind I’ll let you know.

    Reply

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