A major concern I had rattling around my worry box prior to pushing the grown up pedals, was that I believed I had a similar level of fitness to that of a dead frog, as well a distinct lack of stamina or speed. I got over this by starting slowly and easing myself in gently by encompassing cycling into my routine with Simon. Now luckily for me, he has the perfect mix of patience, knowledge, encouragement and support to bring me to a point where I built confidence in my own cycling ability.
He taught me that I'm far more capable than I ever gave myself credit for. Knowing what i know now, I have complete confidence in writing that you too can definitely exceed your own expectations. Just make sure you try to maintain a positive attitude towards your cycling journey, that way no matter how small, your improvements will be more effective.
However, don't be fooled into thinking that once you've begun improving on your achievements you can allow yourself to freewheel through the cycling scene. I learnt the hard way that your fitness levels can very quickly just do one. Following a mild virus and a severe bout of laziness, I felt a sharp decline in my ability and therefore my confidence too. I truly felt as though there was a serious issue going on, it was like trying to cycle through treacle.
After giving my head a shake and embracing the mind set of 'I've done this before, I can do this again', my capability and confidence began to flourish once more.
My advice to others would be to start (or re-start!) gradually, build upon your time and distance in the saddle steadily. Even Geraint Thomas had to start somewhere!
A cliche I know, but remember that no matter how slow you're riding, if you're needing to walk your push rod up a hill or even finding yourself stopping for a breather, you're still lapping everyone sat on their derierre watching the telly, or indeed the windscreen warriers sat in their cars getting their knickers in a twist whilst waiting for their opportunity to get past.
If you do too much too soon, you're just likely to end up sore, knackered, and fed up before giving yourself a chance to take any pleasure from it!
Your cycling journey doesn't always have to be progression focussed. Mix it up a bit & get the kids out with you. It serves as a wonderful aid in peeling them away from the virtual world behind a screen, keeping them fit, tiring them out whilst filling them full of fresh air and being instrumental in teaching them the rules of the road.
Win win situation I'd say!
Cycling computers, fitness trackers, smart watches and /or Strava are really handy for you to track your own progress, recording your achievements and informing you of improvements after every ride. You also have the option of syncing and/or sharing your statistics with friends and family, either privately or on social media. This naturally generates interest from others who may want to join you on your rides or invite you on theirs, as well as being a platform where people can express their pride in you, this can be a great motivator. It's also advantageous to nosey at where other people ride in your area, you could well discover new routes which you'd never have found otherwise.
Be mindful that those PR's (personal records) which you rack up at the start will slow down as your fitness levels improve. This can feel frustrating but the gains which you do manage to achieve feel very well deserved indeed.
I'll be honest, Father Christmas is yet to leave me a cycling computer, fitness tracker or smart watch under the tree. I simply use Strava on my phone and it does all I need it to do at this point in my journey.
Of course I'd be happy to try out an upgrade, you know, if anyone's offering or Santa himself happens to read this ...