My name is Campbell Smith, I’m 67, and 2 years ago in April I went to Newdales and bought a Giant Defy, aluminium frame, basic model. It changed my life.
I had been running for almost 40 years but a couple of years into retirement my left knee finally gave way and I knew that my days as a runner were numbered. I wasn’t very keen on cycling – for all the usual reasons – but I decided to give it a go. Right from the start I enjoyed being on the bike but for a long time I still felt like a runner who just happened to be cycling because he’d bought a nice new bike. Then I bought my first bit of lycra – bib shorts, so comfortable – and from then the transformation began. By the end of the summer I was a fully paid-up member of the lycra brigade, although not quite a mamil (middle aged man in lycra), more omil (old man in lycra). No pain from the knee, longer harder rides and an exhilarating sense of speed and freedom which I’d never experienced out running.
The following year my wife, Gillian, retired from teaching. She had got an e-bike for her 60th birthday: both her knees were in an even worse state than my left one, but with a battery she could cycle with me at the same speed and over fairly long distances. We took off together round the lanes of Essex, Suffolk, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire. Then we got more ambitious, travelling by train to Bury St. Edmunds, for example and cycling 40 forty miles back. This then led to longer trips to the Yorkshire Dales, Lake District and Dartmoor. Our most recent one was to Majorca – paradise for road cyclists. Who knows where we’ll end up next year! Mont Ventoux? The Swiss Alps?
“ Before I finish, I need to talk about Newdales ”
Once I set out to do something, I usually have the determination and resilience to succeed. When I was forced to quit running 2 years ago, it was a pretty safe bet that I would make a go of cycling. The need for hard, physical effort is almost hardwired into me. However, the service provided by this local shop, the expertise, advice and encouragement it offers, the friendliness of the staff – Liam, Chris, Colin – and their enthusiasm for cycling: all this has been a huge help to me in making the transition from runner to cyclist. No, they haven’t paid me to say this, nor have I been offered any discounts! And yes, I am mechanically illiterate and need them to mend my punctures and fix all the other bits that can go wrong or wear out on a bike. That apart, a local bike shop of this quality is something we should actively support in as many ways as we feel able to. If what happened to me 2 years ago strikes a chord with anyone reading this, or if you’re just generally wondering if cycling might be for you and you live nearby, drop into the shop and see what they can do for you. It might just change your life!