Even the slightest rise on the road was enough to make me sigh at the extra effort I had to put in. This is how I was on my very first cycling trip to the Orkney Isles. I was not sure that I liked cycling that much and each time there was a hill (and they are not big ones on Orkney) it made me wonder if cycling holidays were actually enjoyable.
Now look at me!
I have cycled up some of the toughest hills in Scotland and I even enjoyed it. What changed me since that first trip to Orkney?
I think it was a gradual transformation. I simply got used to hills the more that I rode my bike, but it took a bit of time. The annual cycling trip with my friend Paul became a tradition and for the first few years I still dreaded roads that went up. I often gave up and walked my bike as I just did not have the motivation to pedal harder.
Then one day, I don't remember exactly when, I tackled a hill and didn't moan. It was fine. I didn't feel too exhausted. I even enjoyed it.
Then hills just became normal, a fact of cycling life.
I grew to appreciate that it was the power in my own legs that was getting me to the top of a hill and that there was a great feeling of satisfaction in that. I was never going to get that same feeling driving a car or sitting on a bus.
The best thing about going up a hill is that you get to speed down the other side. This is incredible fun that will make you smile all the way. There is nothing quite like it.
So, if hills are putting you off cycling don't let them!
My name is Colin Baird and I want to see all of Scotland by bicycle.