Thee Bike: Rio

“Wow, Robyn you seem to have become an expert (or maybe was always but I didn’t know about it!)” said a friend who is literally getting into cycling as we speak…

It’s taken me 5 and a half years of dating a cyclist (Cycle Man Andy) before I got my first Road bike.
I’ve been riding horses from the age of 5; at 10 years old I got a BMX bike and at 14 I did spinning classes at my local flagship cycling store….
Fast forward a 5 years.
I moved to England and one of my first possessions was a bike; a teenage girls bike from Action 21 recycling centre 🚴

Three whole years later (2010) Cycle Man Andy gifted me my very first hardtail:
Grace Alexis Emery.
And finally in July 2015 I started shopping for a Road Bike especially for me😀
(I was totally fed up having a super heavy hardtail mountain bike over 85% of the route with the mountain bike riders in RLS lead to me feeling tired and frustrated.)
Roads are in a good condition with minimal potholes throughout the year and the climbs vary in difficulty: Edge Hill and Kamakazi Hill.

It was pretty tough dealing with a bunch of men who are pretty advanced and highly fit cyclists who do not remember being beginners…
I test rode a ladies Trek Bike in an aluminium frame in an aqua green called A Lexa Trek.🚴 Riding it felt totally abstract to me.
🚴 The handling was super sensitive.
🚴 The gears totally opposite and confusing to operate
🚴The bike could make you fly though 🌌🐝😇

I left it a few weeks and all we landed up talking about was a road bike for me. Ahora (in the meantime) I’d been for my first set of sessions with my current personal trainer: Tamar.

Cycle Man Andy and I kept riding the MTB rides, but still I was still feeling annoyed with the traffic and the amount of tarmac🚘🚘 with Grace being a heavy beastie!

Then we went on holiday to the Lake District and rode in the rain with Cycle Man Andy.
He discovered I have a talent for sitting my saddle and summiting practically vertical climbs due to the power in my legs and focused mind.
What do you know?
The next day we went walking around town to take a break from the rain and the lightening, can you believe I said that?
They had a Giant Brand Store, which is an entire building dedicated to bikes!!!
Mountain Bikes downstairs and Road bikes upstairs.
End of the season, like the school year…. It dawned on me that the Giant shop resembled our basement!
5 bikes and 3 of which are Road bikes; the remainder were my 2: Grace and Diablo who is my pub girls bike.
Being conscious of the environment, space saving and investing in my health; it was clear I could get a carbon frame😀
The frame being the largest component must be the lightest that you can afford💷💸💷💸💷 The Giant Brand Store encouraged me to have a spin on the road; which I did and I loved it up the hill and the gears.

I was hooked on this swish matt black; gold spec and berry purple Bike! Love at first ride for sure!
A Giant Carbon Frame with the Technology specifically designed for women.
Why is Giant THEE BRAND?
Simple they invest the most amount of money into women’s cycling technology as well as their factory producing most other brands.

I decided to sleep on it; due to the investment required and commitment required.

July came and went

3 weeks into August I was a women possessed about the Liv I’d ridden in the Lakes.

Cycle Man Andy found it at a bargain price ❤
Due to the season SALE and available in my size!
So off we went the Basingstoke to buy it.
I test rode the same model and the roads in that area were absolutely shockingly bumpy 😦
Holding onto the feeling of freedom and being empowered I bought the bike and I was super duper chuffed with my “Olivia” Liv Avail Advanced 3.
Cycle Man Andy and I went out the next day= perfect ride with muscle tenderness a few days later- or so I thought…

No riding for 6 weeks, because I launched my Forever Business and got ridiculously busy. I was shattered so no extra training other than my PT sessions.
I was supposed to have a 6 week check to iron out any discomfort and check the set-up functions all being in ship shape.

Around my birthday in October I got a nasty tummy bug so again no riding = sad face.

November was too cold and busy…. Dark too🌑🌚🌑

December was balmy and I got clear on my goals for the next five years.
There was this incredible bike with huge potential for the powerful women.
Then I thought why not ride a century in the British Summer?
Started researching training, races and nutrition…
Spoke to everyone I could about cycling a century who had 2 seconds to spare.
2 weeks before Christmas I went on a training ride and I struggled every single millimeter of a pedal stroke;
😕my arms ached
😕my hamstrings moaned
😕my seat was incredibly good at sending shooting pains to “my front seat”

The brand spanking new and shiny Giant Brand Store opened 1 week before Christmas in Royal Leamington Spa replacing The Bike Yard.
Cycle Man Andy and I attended their grand opening…
We struck up a conversation with the owner (Guru Billy; a professional down hill racer for 15 years) We enjoyed chatting about my bike even if I did not buy it from him, because he did not have my size in stock.
Regardless he was naturally friendly and funny.
They recommended a professional bike fit (NOT SIZING) as the solution.
2 days before Christmas I went for the fitting and they said to me that they spotted a mile off when they’d seen me ride Olivia that she was way too big for me!!!

Heartbroken 😈😬

I asked 50 million questions and nearly turned poor Cycle Man Andy deaf!
This goal of mine was now impossible.
No bike.
No training.
It was Christmas for heavens sake!
No training during the Christmas to New Years holiday.
No Fitness improvement.

Cycle Man Andy phoned the seller, because I was about to skin them alive through the telephone!
The disappointment at Christmas was unbearable. The seller generously offered to do a professional premium bike fit to ensure I was happy, but it could only happen in the new year…..
We graciously accepted despite my distrust…

cycle Man Andy and I trained on our Mountain Bikes on the road and made some decent progress too. What do they say? When life gives you lemons, make lemonade 😉

Then I decided that I would acquire the Extra Small size one way or another!
Either sell it as brand new and the lifetime guarantee
Or the seller would exchange it as the kind company I first met.

The Royal Leamington Spa Giant Brand Store professionally cleaned “the bike” (no longer my precious bike) and set the bike to the conventional shop style set up!

It took the seller 4 hours of doing everything they could possibly think of to conclude I was happier on the Extra Small and not the Small.
All I wanted was speed and freedom; not pain, not heartache and disappointment.

I rode the “Extra Small” and smiled out of relief.
Not that it was 18:00 on a Friday evening and the shop had been closed for half and hour already!
On Saturday I got a brand spanking new matt black bike in “Extra Small” in exactly the same model= happy face.
🚴 Faith restored and peace in all the land reigned supreme

Welcome to the family Rio Alexis Emery.

Back to Royal Leamington Spa Giant Brand Store to Guru Billy to check it and buy a new stem. Guru Billy says, “Yes, it is A-Ok”

Ride the bike at a Roller session run by the local club when outside temperatures dropped to well below 0°C

That same week I did the beginners road ride and it was awful, because no one had disc brakes, which meant they didn’t know that when I was saying I was having a mechanical that it was grit in the breaks, not the chain being on the wrong cog and about to snap!
😕I was freezing
😕I was wet
😕I was scared
😕My shoulders were on fire
😕I went over a totally unexpected pothole and my elbows could not act as suspension 😦

Back to Guru Billy at the Giant Brand Store to check the bike!
It’s fine we will sort it out once the stem arrives….

Go to Rollers this week and manage literally to not fall off.

So fed up with the Road Bike; I decided to ride my Grace to feel true comfort and up my mileage ❤
We rode with the group for 4 hours and No saddle pain = win 🚴

Decided not to do the beginners ride on the Friday and ride in the day on Saturday, but the club said they were doing a treasure hunt and welcomed all types of bikes to participate on the Sunday.

The day before Cycle Man Andy and Guru Billy prepared my bike  with a new stem and adjusted my handlebars to a better position 🚴🚴🚴

No saddle pain on the Treasure Hunt ride and a super quick time too.

I love my Rio 🚴

All of the above has taught me a heck of a lot.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.


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Holidays in Africa, now back to reality

So I’ve not typed/ written for sometime…. looking back it has actually been very helpful on reflection of the posts (to me anyway)

Here goes….. South Africa is my birth country. Note I did not say my home country. My home country is England.
South Africa is great for a holiday. England is great for a life. In turn we holiday in South Africa and live in England. The best of both worlds.
Do not get me wrong I miss the beauty and the sunshine in South Africa, but the government are running it into the ground!
I get the feeling nothing works and nobody cares, particularly in Johannesburg. There is no concept of maintenance. Only a concept of lets move on and build new and forget the rest that has already been created.
Huge potholes, no lines painted on the roads, no resurfacing, broken windows, no garden maintenance, no pedestrian crossings at traffic lights, no organisation….

England is pretty perfect in comparison (unfair as it is to compare 2000 years with 200 years). The buildings to street lights are maintained, the people care about the details and the whole atmosphere is totally different.

I guess what I feel I am trying to say is that I have found a new home despite not being able to recognise the old one the way it once was with all its sights, sounds and smells. I left South Africa, I pray it finally gets what it deserves: love, maintenance, riches and much happiness (health care, sanitisation, education etc) for all it’s people.

….maybe then my broken heart will be mended and I can return to my old home for 6 months of the year

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Ginger Head sports a weight loss

Swimming 2km and an intense legs, bums and tums class in the last three weeks has resulted in a 2kg weight loss. 

I just need to keep at it and form a routine.

This evening has been incredibly difficult, having slept all day and only had 70kcal to go and do a weekly shop was murderous! I am totally looking forward to my steamed and marinated fish along with dwarf beans and quinoa.


 Let’s eat!

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Red head to Ginger head moves house

As you all know moving is the most stressful life event one can go through….
Cycle boy and I moved in and out of the respective houses over 19 days! 
The packing and the moving and sorting and the packing- needless to say are some of the worst things I have had to do. It was the task that was incredibly intimidating- not knowing where to start and not knowing how big the job actually was…

Now I’m a ginger and now we are fully in our new home. Boxes everywhere it’s difficult to move in the house. 

We need a new kitchen and new bathroom, a wall broken down and a window fixed and lastly to pain and decorate and new carpets….just a short list you know 😉


That is all from me for now.

Ginger Head

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Not yet so skinny mini RED HEAD – blame cycle boy ;)

So, it has been a tough couple of days, because cycle boy had to under go some tests. The test went smoothly, but the preparation 2 days before is an absolute nightmare! Poor cycle boy! I love him to the moon and back again, because he is my guiding star. It was so  painful to see cycle boy grumpy, because he was hungry and almost glued to a toilet seat.
Thus, all of the above has made me grumpy and eat an enormous amount of cake, sweets, crisps and bread. Eating the stress is away is no good for my goals and no good for my health- although it did support my mental health, because I did not have a panic attack or get seriously stressed. “Swings and roundabouts,” I say!

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Weekly Progress Week 2 of Slimming World

I joined slimming world on the 29th of April 2012. Progress thus far is 4.5lbs. I was the captain of the group and the awarded Slimmer of the week. 

It was really enjoyable experience… I didn’t expect to lose any weight this week as I put so much food in my mouth over the bank holiday weekend, however my saving grace was all my exercise and medication. 


My goal for this week is 3 lbs which will total in 7.5lbs = half a stone. Only 51.5lbs to go and I will be at a healthy weight.

All the best to my fellow group members for a good weight loss and a happy week.

Much love,


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RED Head Chubby

RED Head Chubby

4 Stone to loose as of 24/04/2013
Before Picture

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