1:1 outdoor coaching & learning to ride in clipless pedals
After increasing my fitness indoors, I decided that it was time to try riding outside again. Alas, I was unsteady on the bike, my confidence was lacking when it came to clipping in and out, and I was feeling unsafe. The perfect ingredients for another topple, which I did have (though this time, at least, I didn't break anything).
This time, Njinga came to my rescue.
I booked myself in for an outdoor 1:1 coaching session with Togo in Richmond Park and we worked on my being able to stay upright on the bike.
Appropriately, the session started with me providing Togo with an impromptu demonstration on how I end up toppling off my bike! I was picked up off the floor and Togo explained the issue: I was unclipping too late and leaning the wrong way.
Togo's plan to rectify my mistakes was genius and didn't involve the bike at all: I had to collect sticks in the park! Believe it or not, that was the exercise that helped me learn, off the bike, how to unclip my pedals.
When I made it back onto my bike, I found myself heading towards Broomfield Hill in Richmond Park. I didn't believe I was ever going go be able to climb it, but with Togo's guiding hand on my back and his positive encouragement, I made it to the top.
I'd like to say that from that day onwards, I haven't toppled off my bike again, but it wouldn't be true.
You always need to keep your head in the game and stay focused.
This is what Togo's coaching taught me, but alas, sometimes I do get distracted.
Getting outdoor miles in my legs with the Njinga Collective
With my confidence slowly growing, I was keen to start getting the miles in my legs before Ride London, so I joined the Njinga Collective, Njinga's not-for-profit outdoor riding group and the friendliest bunch of people you'll ever meet. They've provided me with encouragement and friendship; experience and expertise (including their insider tips on the local coffee and cake shops); and they make me want to get out on my bike!
With the Collective, I've climbed many more hills and ridden distances I'd have never thought possible, including cycling to Kent and down to Brighton!