Riding bikes is fun.
Riding bikes with friends is fun.
Riding bikes down quiet lanes not that far from central London is fun.
Add all three together and then throw in medium fixed gear (46:18) and night time and you end up doing something like this:
I’ve not been out on a bike at night for a couple of weeks, due to the nice bike being off the road thanks to my amazing bike-seeking skills at a crit race in March. I’m always a little apprehensive going down hill, “Death destruction terror” and “oh fuck” “oh fuck” are mantras repeating through my head. Throw in a couple of steep descents and the lack of a freewheel, the feeling of not being fully in control, a brake that just doesn’t seem to be doing ANYTHING and, well, there were a few hairy moments.
Apart from the comedy “no brakes” that went on in my head on the last downhill section, it wasn’t comedy. I was fucking terrified at one point, the ride brought back so many great physical and emotional memories.
When I first got into riding my bike in London, I went on a couple of night rides to Brighton. This pushed me towards Tuesday night rides. Which showed me how far off the pace I was.
I started going out on Sundays with people, in the day time, to get better. The day I got up Leith and Whitedown with one gear was monumental. This led to more Tuesday night riding, joining a club and starting to contemplate buying gears.
Last night brought back the same scared sensations of going downhill in the dark and not knowing if I could stop my bike. Unfortunately, the person I normally turned to and laughed/moaned about this wasn’t there. They’re out doing audaxes and carpentry now. I think.
Physically climbing Exedown felt terrible yesterday. Watching two red lights disappear up the road and then watching them separate as the gradient began the selection was quite something.
Sections of mud, shite, gravel, pot holes, the stench of weed/cow shit, a dead fox, a toad, decent climbs, cowardly descending, a mad run into the station on the way back, a detour around Anerley with flat section and the desire to beat the final bell at the pub at the end of my street.
We missed the pub by 10 minutes. I think we should have chanced our arms with a cheeky request.
I got home slightly feral, had a protein drink, a shower, and slept soundly.
Anyway, these two songs popped into my head this morning as I rode into work.