A few weeks back I found myself, one evening, down in my garage and busy fettling my favourite bike. This is not an unusual occurrence.
I’m a man of simple pleasures and, right now, in my forties, this scenario is right up there in my top five favourite ways to have a good time. For the record, three of the other four also involve my bike.
The other one involves my wife.
I’m not a complete psychopath.
Anyway, on this particular evening I was preparing for a big ride the following day by cleaning and greasing my bike to within an inch of its life. As I was happily replacing the seat post in line with its carefully marked height indicator I was disturbed by a crying child.
One of mine, who had picked a delicate moment to need a cuddle and a second tucking-in. I shuffled the seat post close enough to the right position, tightened the bolt, and legged it upstairs to do the dad bit.
Child happy, I then returned to the garage, fiddled around for another hour or so, and left my bike propped, prepped, and ready for a big day.
Carelessly, I had neglected to finish the seat post job.
Now, some cyclists can jump aboard any old bike, with any old geometry, and clock up all kinds of mileage with no ill effects. Geraint Thomas, I hear, is one such.
I, on the other hand, am not.
Just one of the ways that me and Geraint Thomas differ. The others being his Welsh-ness, and his ability to hold several hundred watts for several hundred miles.
I am so delicately calibrated that, with an ill-advised tweak to my riding position of a millimetre here or there, I am rendered crooked and misaligned.
So it was that I recklessly headed out the next day for six hours on my phenomenally clean bike, with my saddle pointing just a degree or two to the left.
Normally, I’d have noticed this immediately. But I was preoccupied with the cold weather, and was under pressure to get the miles done in time to get back home and do some more parenting.
So I ignored the messages that my bones were sending to my brain, and I barrelled on regardless.
Post-ride it was clear that I’d (and, apologies for the medical terminology here…) popped my skeleton out of whack.
My back ached, which made my neck sore, sending a pain down my leg to make my foot tingle. Each body part compensating in turn for the misalignment of the other like a butterfly effect across my brittle body.
And all because I dropped everything, without a thought for myself, to attend to my crying child.
I presume my dad-of-the-year certificate is in the post.