With the Tour de France of 2015 now just a memory, for many of us cycling fans a huge gaping chasm has been left behind which, if we’re not careful, it would be easy to fill with all manner of unsavoury activities; watching football, for example, or heavy drinking.
After spending three weeks watching a few dozen skinny men slog their way around France enduring increasing levels of physical and mental distress, it’s important to ease your way back into your family and work life gradually, to ward off the worst of the withdrawal symptoms.
So, for example, as you go back to work you may find that your surroundings seem quiet and colourless, and unaccompanied by the rambling commentary which has become so reassuring over the past three weeks (although this does depend on your place of work).
If you find the relative silence unnerving, why not recreate the frantic commentary of Phil Liggett by repeatedly getting your workmates names wrong, mis-interpreting what is going on in front of you, and constantly harking back to ‘the little Colombian’ who used to work here back in the 1980’s.
Whatever you do, however, never get on to the subject of the brash American chap who used to run the show.
That could get awkward.
Once you’ve managed to get through a day at work it is, thankfully, back to real bikes – going out for an actual bike ride yourself is highly recommended. Apart from anything else you have just spent three weeks sitting on your settee watching sport, and a spot of exercise might be a good idea.
As you pedal along your local lanes you could grit your teeth and ride at the front, on the lookout for rogue telegraph poles and pretending to be Geraint Thomas; you could approach every descent as if taking evasive action, in homage to the great-going-uphill-not-so-great-coming-down Thibaut Pinot; or you could ride along staring at your stem and waggling you elbows around like Chris Froome.
If you really want to recreate the atmosphere of the Tour de France from the perspective of Froome, you could go the extra mile and arrange for a group of friends to congregate at the roadside and hurl abuse, accusations, and bodily fluids at you.
You should probably worry slightly if you have a whole group of friends queuing up to do you this little honour.
Post-ride, and after all your Tour de France related exertions, you’re going to want to relax, and how else would you do this but in the style of a true pro-cyclist: by kicking back in the company of a swarthy European masseur with a selection of scented oils, while he goes to work on your calves and thighs.
What you do behind the privacy of your own front door…
Just to be clear I’m not necessarily recommending the Phil Liggett impressions, the waggly elbows, the bodily fluids, and the swarthy European with the hairy arms. I’m not saying that that this is a normal way to behave, I’m just saying you could do this.
After all, I’ve just spent three weeks of my life watching a load of blokes riding their bikes around France, and I’ll probably do the same again next year.
Who am I to say what normal behaviour is?