“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!!!
I asked 50 million questions and nearly turned poor Cycle Man Andy deaf!
This goal of mine was now impossible.
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 🚴