I have been putting it off for three months. The winter was my excuse. When it wasn’t freezing, snowing, or icy, it was something else.
The real reason was that I had fallen out of fitness and added an extra stone. With these two combined, I knew that I would struggle on the bike. My problem was that I had got to be quite good at cycling and I didn’t want to fall all the way down from my peak.
I hate being unfit just as much as I hate to carry additional poundage. It wasn’t meant to be like this, but our newly imported Siberian seasons have conspired to bring about unwanted changes. My middle name has become Lethargy and boy have I learnt to slob into it. This morning, however, I had no excuse. It didn’t stop me dithering though.
My bike has sat in the garage for three months. It hasn’t complained. It hasn’t arranged to hook-up with other more adventurous cyclists on something like BikeMatch.com. No, my cycle has been faithful even when my more rotund self threatened to knock the air out of its tyres.
I pulled it out of the garage and stroked it. It was a gesture of gratitude, but the nosey neighbour from across the street gave me an eyebrow-raised, eyeball-popping look of absolute incredulity. She believed herself to be well hidden behind the curtains of her upstairs bedroom bay window, but I knew she was there. I stroked the bike again and kissed its saddle.
At this point, I would like to explain that, unlike my cars, I have not allotted my cycle a specific gender. A number of my bikes, down the years, have enjoyed the certainty of being male or female (they’ve all been male as I thought that riding a female bike would smack of degrading levels of misogyny). I have just thought about the flip-side of that and am hoping that you have not considered its implications.
Although sunny, there was a sharp breeze and a testicle shrivelling temperature drop when in the shade. Picking the right clothes was important. Making sure that those tightly-fitting togs did not accentuate my newly found extra self, was perhaps of most importance. We (I am using the collective, inclusive pronoun) cyclists do like to look good in our get-up. A bike ride is like a horse-racing event where you just have to look your best.
An age came and went before I finally set sail.
It was going to be a relatively short ride as I believed that my winter of laziness would not have prepared me for the stress of turning the peddles over whilst balancing on a razor sharp saddle and keeping a watchful eye on any potentially psychotic motorised vehicle conductors. I was tentative, unclipping from the cleats much too early when approaching junctions, but before long I had stopped thinking about the mechanics of cycling and just cycled. At those moments, everything else disappears from one’s mind and a sort of spiritual cleansing takes place.
My first cleansing took just under an hour. I decided to play it safe. We got back and I patted the saddle in appreciation. The neighbour wasn’t there which meant that I didn’t have to kiss it. I used no performance enhancing drugs even though I could have done with some. I didn’t even have a blood-transfusion.