I often have conversations with myself. It’s helpful. Today I was riding the mum bike 2.0 into work. Because it has one gear, it’s sensible (mudguards and racks), and it’s heavy. All sensible choices to try and stop me from being a big hitting cat 5 racer.
This morning it was noticeably colder, winter is coming and all that, windy and clear. I got a nasty chill on my ankle. It itched. Riding the tank bike across the bridge, beset by wind and fellow cat 5 racers, I started to ask myself “why do I ride bikes?”.
I let this thought sit in my mind for a bit as I continued up through Drury Lane, round the back of the British Museum, and up the sneaky one way street to work.
If I look back upon my life, it’s always with a sense of shame.
Well, not always, but a certain particular point in my life leaves me with the shivers and is actually really embarrassing to me now. Thinking about specific points in that era doesn’t make me think “That was great, I had a great time, I hung out with loads of mates, got off my face, listened to great music, emotionally connected with people and made great friends”. I just think, “what a twat”.
I moved back from Nashville, where I rode bikes to the shops and to friends, but always thought “nah, that’s not for me. I like running”. But in Nashville summers, I could only run for 17 minutes max. Every time.
When we got back to London, even though I’d battled with trucks on 21st Avenue in Nashville after 3 pints, I was definitely NOT cycling. No way. London was mental right?
And then Alex showed the way, getting up early and doing 20 miles a day on the mum bike. I got a bike, then I got into LFGSS. I destroyed what was a lovely Raleigh. It really was. It was light blue, with a white headtube.
I powdercoated it flat dark blue. I put bullhorns on. I had nice wheels built for it. I thrashed it. It was always slightly too big though. It did have bottle cages though. I got knocked off it once by a car on Queen’s park roundabout, I should have taken his details. I took a tenner.
Why do I ride bikes?
I ride bikes because I don’t drink as much, I don’t do weekends that start on Friday night and end on Sunday morning anymore, I don’t need to have a pint or three on a Tuesday or Wednesday because I feel bleak, I don’t then go out on Thursday night because tomorrow’s Friday and who cares really. I ride bikes because I don’t smoke anymore.
You could flip all of those statements so that they become I don’t drink as much because I ride bikes, etc. etc.
I guess, I ride bikes further and in different ways because of all the statements I made up there. And moar probably.
Why do I ride bikes? I think it’s because I’ve replaced going out with going up.