Confessions of a Cycling Obsessive

There are lots of very normal people for whom cycling is simply a hobby, which takes up no more time or energy than lots of other hobbies they have. For others, cycling is a cheap and healthy form of transport – a better way of commuting. For some of us, cycling is more than that; it’s the way we spend our spare time and the thing we think about when we’re not doing it. Some of us are slightly obsessed. This is better explained through the following real-world examples:

I can describe to you the closing kilometres of David Millar’s most recent stage win at the Tour de France in 2012, but I can’t remember my wife’s middle name, or who we met for lunch last weekend.

I have always had a forensic memory for trivial sporting information. I am led to believe that the temporal lobe is the area of the brain responsible for organising long term memories, and it appears that my temporal lobe has independently decided it’s main purpose is to make sure I remember Tour de France stage winners, famous attacks on the cobbles of northern France, and spectacular implosions half way up the Col du Galibier or Mont Ventoux. I can also recall the exploits of unpronounceable Kazakh sprinters and diminutive Venezuelan climbers with unerring accuracy, and if I ever find a use for this…!

The Human Brain - beware, the temporal lobe is liable to being corrupted by cycling trivia
The Human Brain – beware, the temporal lobe is liable to being corrupted by cycling trivia

Conversely, when it comes to the storage of information which is practical and useful – things like birthdays, middle names and lunch appointments – my brain works intermittently at best. I don’t know exactly why it malfunctions, but I had a minor incident a few years ago whilst on my bike which involved me day-dreaming, and then meeting up quickly and painfully with a car…a parked car to be exact. I fear the resulting impact may have dislodged something important in my head. Doctors have so far been non-committal on this.

I can organise a group ride involving a dozen people, half a dozen pick up points and a café stop, but I haven’t yet found an effective way to get my children fed, washed and dressed, and get myself to work on time – it’s one or the other.

Organising a group ride is a mammoth administrative task requiring tact, understanding, local knowledge and a firm hand; you are basically trying to organise a group of inherently disorganised and disobedient beings to come together in pursuit of a common goal. This sounds a lot like getting the kids up and running in a morning, except for the bit about a common goal – for me and the kids, our goals are very different. It’s almost as if the little darlings are deliberately trying to make things difficult.

But I’d like to see the wife pull a group ride together without it descending into mutiny and derision (well, mutiny anyway…derision is par for the course to be honest).

In most areas of my life I insist on carrying out a mental cost/benefit analysis before parting with £10, however, I will happily spend it on the latest edition of Rouleur magazine.

‘£10 on a magazine!’ I hear you say…but it’s not that simple. Nowadays, your local newsagent is awash with £5 cycling magazines, most of which are made up of no more than glossy marketing and regurgitated articles about big name riders, cycling nutrition and get fit quick plans – I won’t buy these. Rouleur is weighty, beautiful and slightly obscure.

Rouleur Magazine - weighty and beautiful (Photo: Mal Booth - Flickr)
Rouleur Magazine – weighty and beautiful
(Photo: Mal Booth – Flickr)

And for the record, I have no affiliation to it…I just like it.

Incidentally, I will also spend money on good coffee and wine…no questions asked. This is unrelated to my obsession with cycling.

I can explain the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) road race rating system but I can’t explain the Wednesday morning recycling system.

OK, so I’m exaggerating…no-one can explain why some professional races are World Tour races, some have a rating of 1.HC, others 1.1, and more still 2.1 and on…and on.

And yes, I admit, it’s normal to feel baffled by the system our local council uses to recycle household waste; what goes with what and in what bin, what day they collect food waste, what constitutes garden waste, and what to stick in the good old wheelie bin.

The point is, I’ve given up on trying to understand the many headed beast that is recycling, but a small part of me still believes that if I were to lock myself in a quiet room and apply every scrap of my brainpower to the UCI’s convoluted rating system, It might just be possible to find meaning in their archaic numeric codes.

Although couldn’t they just use normal numbers…or words?

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5 comments

  1. It’s quite alarming how many people I know who could have written a significant part of that post.

    My wife will almost certainly say I am one of them….

    Like

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