Occasionally I find myself trying, pushing hard on the pedals, looking at the speedo, breathing deeply … it creeps up on me until something in my brain switches and I realise what I’m doing!
And then I stop and get back to just enjoying riding along.
Some background information here…
I stopped racing bikes about ten years ago after almost thirty years of not even average results, at the time I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the training, I enjoyed the butterflies on the start line, I enjoyed the social aspect and everything else about it.
I remember exactly when it finished for me, four hours into an overnight mountain bike race, coming into the pits and my ‘pit bitch’ Raoul looked at me as he handed me a strong coffee and asked me why was I doing this again ? the coffee got swapped for a beer and that was it, over.
But not cycling, that will never be over, and so today I caught myself pushing hard on the pedals, heading along a straight lane, the mist being gently evaporated by a rising sun and there I was breathing hard and sweating. I stopped and took control of myself, looking around at the unfolding scene in front of me, I took a photograph of the lane.
Back on the bike and I’m spinning along at a whole 12 mph, looking at whats around me, enjoying it for what it is, stopping to take a photograph of anything that catches my eye, actually getting off the bike and jumping down to the river bank and finding a lovely leaf covered trail that I hadn’t seen before.
Late afternoon and I pull into Lane Ends reserve and sit on the bench. More or less every ride in this area ends with this ritual, sit on bench, drain my bottle and wait for the geese, often there are other people there waiting for the geese, today an older couple pull up on bikes, 3 speeds with saddle bags and kickstands, no helmets, no specific cycling attire, in fact the only piece of cycling specific gear I can see are trouser clips on him.
We exchange a nod and settle in to watch the geese that are now passing overhead in their thousands, this is what I aspire to now, to still be riding bikes without a care in the world about the bikes, or looking the part, but with 3 speeds and a kickstand.
Words & pictures – Steve Makin.