50 Days in the Life of a Mid Life Business Mentee - Day 10


I grew up in a terraced house in Clapham. We didn’t have a big garden and we weren’t allowed to play out on the streets. We didn’t have bikes so it wasn’t until I was 13 and living in Nigeria that I learnt to ride one. About 20 years ago I bought a bike from a friend. The intention being to cycle a mile from where I lived to work.

It didn’t happen.

So back to present day.

Immediately after the event finished on Sunday night Simona’s friend very kindly drove us to Piacenza is where she (Simona) lives. It’s not far from Milan and it took us 6 hours to drive from Rome.

On Monday Simona took me across the city - we cycled.  I didn’t want to, because I haven’t ridden in several years -  it was in Dulwich Park, not on the road.

But this is a year that I’m saying yes to things I would normally say no to so I got on the bike she chose for me.

I was shaky. I warned her that I probably wouldn’t be able to make any hand signals because I never really learned how to cycle with only one hand.

Simona rode ahead and pointed out interesting landmarks in the town.

I find that I’m not so good at looking to the side and controlling a moving bike.

Oh yes and only one of the brakes was working.


But cycling on the streets of Piacenza is really like cycling in Dulwich Park. There was one busy road on our route but the rest was relatively quiet.

In the city centre

In the city centre

I did a few spinning classes last year – I didn’t enjoy them.  After the first class I couldn’t sit for about 3 days, but it wasn’t that, I just found the class boring. Cycling in London seems like dicing with death but I could see my confidence growing as a cyclist in a small town. So, if I ever decide to live in a small town then cycling may well be an option for me.

Later on in the day I ventured out on foot so I could get a good look at the city and as I walked I reflected on the parallels between my experience on the bike that day and the processes we go through as we move into the unfamiliar:

Cycling in Piacenza                                                  Leaving your comfort zone

1. I wanted to say no at first                                    1. We want to stay where it’s


2. I started off wobbly                                              2.  We may be unsure at first

3. I had to keep my eyes to the front or                3.  Our anxieties keep us so focused on

    I wouldn't be able to control the bike                    where we are going that we miss

                                                                                          interesting points along the way

4. The longer I cycled the better I got                  4. The more steps we take the better we get

5. I became a more confident cyclist                      5.We are more confident about our ability to grow


If we’re lucky we get to go back and review where we have come from, review the journey, so that we appreciate where we’ve got to.

And then we reward ourselves to celebrate.


I did, later that day, with a massive ice cream.