Overall, I'd say that the biggest, most intimidating item sitting on my 2011 New Years Resolution list is not getting out of credit debt, taking more risks in love or even getting a mortgage. No, it's safe to say that the biggest most intimidating resolution on this list is learning how to ride a bike.
The psychological enormity of this task is not at all helped by my parents constant and furious insistence that if I were to ride a bike on the road, I would most certainly die.
And people wonder why I'm so risk averse.
Yet despite these dire warnings, I think I'm about 50 per cent closer to my goal. I now have a bicycle. Although she needs a bit of love. She has two flat tyres, stiff breaks and an owner renowned for falling over when she's walking down the street and thinking about boys. And while I have yet to really bond with my bike (because I am so wholly terrfied by it), I'm thinking of calling her Merryl.
The pressure to learn how to ride a bike is steadily mounting as my new walk to work hits the thirty minute mark and my post-mortgage sensitivities revile from having to pay $2.65 to catch a bus just down the road. However, my fears of learning how to ride a bike are not helped by the fact that I now live on top of a hill described by one veteran West End cyclist as "relentless". It was not until he mentioned this that I started paying attention to the cyclists riding up my street. They look pretty struggletown. At least, the non-Lycra clad ones do. And rest assured I will not be wearing Lycra, especially if it costs more than my couch.
I had all these grand visions of riding about the place looking impossibly glamorous, but I suspect this will not be the case. I suspect what residents and commuters in the West End/Highgate Hill area will be treated to is a paranoid, terrified and clumsy red head, sweating profusely and falling over awkwardly.
Let's hope they're ready.