By Emily Furia
Although I admit I tuned out much of the hubbub surrounding last summer’s royal baby—after all, young Prince George was born less than 24 hours after Chris Froome’s historic Tour de France victory—I was intrigued by this piece of Middleton news: Pippa, the younger sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, has “finally joined the cycling brigade,” according to a column she recently wrote for Britain’s Telegraph.
While the athletic 30-year-old socialite is no stranger to two wheels—she’s competed in the Highland Cross, a 50-mile duathlon across Scotland—the thought of mixing it up in urban traffic made her uneasy, she says:
Urban cyclists intimidate me. I may mock them as geeks in their “bib tights” (essentially Lycra dungarees), streamlined helmets and triple lens, wraparound sunglasses but, in truth, their hard-nosed attitude—some can be incredibly rude—and self-belief that they are the rightful rulers of the road makes me nervous.
Enter avid cyclist Jonathan Edwards, the world record holder in the triple jump and a cycling correspondent for the BBC, who met Middleton in London’s Battersea Park for a lesson on road riding.
In addition to helping Middleton take her first clipless pedal strokes (“as long as you can clip one foot in and out, the other foot can stay in most of the time”), Edwards shared a variety of tips for beginner cyclists. His top three gear recommendations for riders on a budget: a helmet, sunglasses, and padded bike shorts.
By the end of the day, Middleton pronounced herself “a clip-in convert” and reports that “a road bike is now on my sporting accessories wish list.”
Welcome to the pack, Pippa. Best of luck as you learn to embrace your right to the road. And I just may have to refer to my bibs as “Lycra dungarees” from now on.