Jayne Secker: Week two and I'm back on the road with a new bike

My name is Jayne Secker, I am a presenter on Sky News and spend most of my life sitting down. Somehow I have volunteered for something resembling a stage of the Tour de France in a bid to raise funds for Grace House Hospice …

Thursday, 22nd August 2019, 15:00 pm
Jayne Secker on the second week of her training.

Week two - I am feeling confident enough to hit the open road. My bike however is not. It is 25 years old and and has served me well on trips to the shops and school run, but is a bit too heavy and rusty to heft up and down the Lake District.

The man in the bike shop listens politely while I tell him what I want – a cheap bike that will get me from coast to coast in a couple of days.

“There will be hills” he points out. I am aware of this.

As we hand over the dosh he counters “but it’s not like you’re going to be cycling up Hartside Pass is it”.

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“I - er - think I am….” I mumble… Neither of us quite know where to look.

“Erm, best of luck” he calls out as I wheel my shiny new bike out of the store.

I live in a relatively hilly part of Surrey, but I fear its slopes are mere pimples compared to those in Cumbria.

I decide to attempt an eight-mile ride with three big hills and not stop or get off how ever much my legs hurt. By the end of the second hill I realise I have a ‘hill face’. It’s not wildly flattering and I’m worried if the wind changes my face may stay that way. By the third hill I have come up with a hill mantra to keep me going. “Don’t stop ’til you reach the top”. It is probably fine as an internal chant but I find it more helpful to grunt it out loud. Add that to the grin and the beetroot red face and I really cut quite a striking figure as I wobble over the final crest.

But of course the fabulous thing about hills is that what goes up inevitably comes down and once you are over the top you get a whoosh of speed and adrenaline as you shoot down the other side. I feel like a kid again and shout “wheeee’ as I whizz down into a village.