What we’re not talking about here is my endless quest for the the “right” tyres, or some nonsense around “rebooting a franchise“of a tired old brand. The former, I’ve mostly given up on and now pursue a strategy based entirely on “what’s on the rim” while the latter is just marketing speak for “if you want some new ideas, you’d better pony up some more money. Lots more money”
What I am talking about is the search for lost cycling Mojo. Which was last seen back in April just before I spanged my elbow, and has only surfaced through fleeting sightings since. For which I’m entirely blaming having to travel to London. Because otherwise it might be my fault, and we can’t be having that.
London is toxic in all sorts of way beyond just the fug and smog of ten million nutters. It has engendered sufficient evening of benderage that means – even if I live another 50 years – my liver will never be a candidate for transplanting. And outside of treating boring hotels with liquid medicine, the early mornings, late nights, crap food snatched at stupid hours ruined my riding week. And London extended way beyond geographical boundaries however much I kidded myself otherwise.
Excuses not to ride were not just vocationally based. Other stuff to do at the weekends, sometimes with family, occasionally with paintbrush, probably too often on a hillside hunting down composite shards. And even on the bike, it wasn’t always as enjoyable as I remembered. Road biking nudged in for a while until the Dartmoor was done, after which the road bike came out exactly once in three months.
I wondered about this. What was missing from my cycling experience. And came to the worrying conclusion it was me. Or at least my enthusiasm and drive to get off my arse and go do stuff I’m sure I loved. Riding is always better than not riding – that’s an established “fact” here on the hedgehog, but sometimes rings a bit hollow from the comfort of a sofa.
It could be the repetition of too many tyred old rides. It could be the pace, too slow or too fast. Let’s be honest here, too fast is probably the issue. Once the goal isn’t some kind of peak fitness, the whole blowing it out of your arse suddenly looks a bit silly. It’s like those lists that you will never every get done. There is no finishing line, no point when you can put your feet up and say “I’m done“, no time when you ride because you absolutely want to rather than because you feel you should.
Whatever it is, a few things will change. Or be added. Injuries in my case, a couple which have slowed me down even further. So managing muscle groups against the twitch has seen me taking the climbs a little easier and trying to make up the time on the descents. Given a choice between riding with my friends or riding with the kids, I’ll go for the latter option every time. The road bike has a place and that’s not hung on the wall. It’s great for that stolen ride when you need to create that space in your head, and as an antidote to a winter of drudgy mud.
But mostly the change will be about what I’m riding for. I’ve never been short of guilt (either perceived or warranted) as a motivation for all sorts of stuff, riding included. Every ride is one that you won’t be able to do when you’re old(er) and (more) decrepit and should be viewed thus. We’re stupidly lucky to be able to combine our love of the outdoors with bikes.
Sometimes it is good to to remind yourself why