Part of the appeal of cycling is the chance to get out of the house and into the fresh air, and have a bit of time alone to think, digest, and generally mull over the meaning of life and everything in between. People talk about the restorative powers of a good long ride, and the chance to get a day’s work out of the system and clear the mind. You might argue that the same can be achieved from simply drinking heavily, but cycling is better for you and (slightly) more socially acceptable.
Clearing the mind and reaching some lofty meditative state is the aim, of course, but if I’m honest I’m more likely to simply fixate on whatever cycling related issues present themselves whilst out clocking up the mileage.
So with that in mind, here’s my top ten:
- If I’m out with one of my skinny, competitive, Rapha clad mates I think ‘OK…i get it…now will you just f**kin’ slow down’.
- If I’ve skived off work to get out for a ride, I think ‘now this is a productive way to spend company time’.
- If I’m out riding on a Saturday morning I think ‘why, oh why did I open that second bottle of Rioja last night’.
- If I’m on holiday in France riding up some sun-kissed col, I think ‘just how does a man go about making a living in France…and when can we move?’
- If I’m out on a balmy summer evening ride, it’s 9 o’clock and 19 degrees C, I think ‘does the sun really set at ten past four in the middle of winter…that doesn’t seem right?’
- If I’m riding down a dark and deserted country lane in mid-winter, and I feel the draught of a truck overtaking me a little too close, I think ‘if he had clipped me into that hedge, no one would find me ’till tomorrow’.
- If I’m riding along on a perfectly smooth road, and still something rattles, I think ‘what’s that…and how much is it going to cost?’
- As I reach into my jersey pocket for my fourth gel of the ride, I think ‘I’d kill a man for some proper food’.
- As I pedal grimly up some vicious 20% climb in Cumbria, I think ‘flat rides…it’s flat rides for me from now on’.
- If I’m half way around a cold four-hour winter ride, my hands and feet like blocks of dead wood, and I’m developing never-seen-before creases in my face, I think ‘base miles…stealth training…fitness…weight loss…hard man anecdote’…anything to give me a reason to keep pedalling.
So, fellow cyclists, tell me what you think about on the bike (deep and meaningful, or throwaway one-liners, no-ones judging).