Before anyone gets worried, I should probably say that I am not currently being held in my house against my will.
Rather I wish to rant (yes, rant) about the feeling you get, as a cyclist, when you’re all set to ride, you’re suited and booted, your leg is cocked and then… you realise that you’ve not got [your phone / your emergency funds / your Kendal (bloody) Mint Cake – delete as applicable].
Maybe it’s my descent towards middle age, or the realisation that being a stay at home dad is not the direct route to self discovery and fulfilment that the internet promised me (that duplicitous internet!), but I find myself increasingly frustrated when processes don’t go smoothly.
And, intuitively, cycling feels like it should be a smooth process. Get on bike. Ride.
Fing is. Protocol dictates that you must clad yourself in a mille-feuille of tight-fitting lycra. In the winter months, that means strapping on a base layer, then sheathing yourself in shorts, tights, top (jersey?), some sort of ‘shell’.
Beneath this synthetic sausage horror show, you must append trotters with cleats that simultaneously render you as stable as a lickle deer on a frozen lake, whilst gouging huge canyons out of your expensive kitchen floor.
If you’ve been naughty this year, rather than forgetting to bring you presents, it’s at this point that Santa will tell you that you omitted to put on your heart rate monitor. If he’s being vindictive, he’ll set your bowels to evacuation mode on the Indian meal that followed last night’s office Christmas party*.
(* Hypothetical office Christmas party in my case. Sad face.)
I can generally deal with the first fug up. A shake of the head and an irritated, “tsk”. I then go to the toilet.
Even the second forgotten item provokes only an exasperated grunt.
It’s when I’ve return from the garage for the fourth or fifth time, perhaps because I’ve noticed that, for some reason, my mini pump has been removed* from its usual spot in the back pocket of my cycling jacket, that I really lose my sheet.
(* who am I kidding trying to use the passive voice? It will have been me that took it out of my pocket.)
It shouldn’t be like this. All I want to do is ride my bike.
There seems to be so much clutter that we have to wear or carry these days. It almost makes me want to follow my own (drug-addled) advice for enjoying RideLondon (specifically, ditching the contents of your pockets and saddle bag). Almost.
Here’s hoping you (and I) get more bike stuff to put on, forget and frustrate over at this most religious of commercial festivals.