The past eight months have seen me on a bit of a journey, literally. Way back in January I bought a bike. A proper bike with lots of gears and no basket.
I started gently. Just a few flat miles once a week along the canal towpath then a steep walk up the hill to home. Slowly though things have got better and by the time the snow finally disappeared I was into double figures and out more often.
I did a few longer trail rides with my lovely friends and my biggest boy and learnt how to breathe better so my lungs didn't always feel as if they were about to jump out of my chest. And I started to go UPHILL!
Uphill scared me an awful lot. I'm unfit, approaching 40 and a bit of a weakling but if I wanted to actually get out of the village I knew I just had to do it. And slowly, gradually I got up them and I'm getting a lot further.
And I completely love it! Exercise and me have never really mixed well, apart from swimming. But even with swimming I never got that buzz that people talk about or looked forward to doing it again.
But there's something about my bike and being out that makes me smile; like a loon. It's really hard work and I'm still really unfit but I really enjoy it. I'm out three times a week now and try to cover a hundred miles a month. July and all that scorching weather was lovely, I got up early and was out before the heat (6am one day), up and down the quiet lanes with just the birds for company, whizzing past farmyards where the cows were lining up to be milked.
And now? Well it's all getting more serious - but in a fun way. I've joined the brilliant Breeze Network and been out with a fantastic ride leader on the city trails, building up my strength and speed. Today we went out on our bikes as a family for the second time this summer and my biggest boy managed 10 miles along the Manifold Track.
And then my friend (who did an epic 140 mile charity ride earlier in the year) asked me a big question. Do I want to enter the Ride London 2014 ballot with her. Errm...yes please. Cripes!