Saturday, 23 August 2014

Love's Labour's Lost- The Tragedy of an Unridden Bicycle

 I was at my parent's house the other day and noticed my old road bike leaning against the wall in Dad's garage. We were having work done here a few months back and the tradesmen were using our own shed to store some gear leaving the roller doors up for most of the day and exposing my treadley's whereabouts to any light fingered fiend who may feel the need to steal away with it. So I took it to the safety of my parent's house to linger until the work was done. And there it stayed!

 It's pathetic I know but the main reason I don't ride my bike anymore is that I can't be bothered fitting myself out in the appropriate equipment. Knicks, shoes, helmets,sunglasses, winter tights at this time of year and thick training jumpers,thick singlets and socks, lathered suntan lotion in the summer. Man, I swear it takes half an hour to put all that crap on! I have gotten to a point, if I can drag myself off the internet in the mornings and have recovered from working until 10pm the night before, where I just don my walking shoes and duck out the door and twaddle around the block. Home in an hour or less. That is my exercise.

My father has always said, labouring the point at times, that if you are keen enough to train hard then it will never be problem getting out on your bike and that is a fair point. I just wonder how I have lost the love of riding my bike?!

I can make excuses all day. I'm tired. There is too much traffic on the roads. Too many pedestrians on the bike paths. Too much broken glass smashed by the local delinquents. I haven't got the time. Magpies are swooping. All tosh. I've just gotten lazy!

 I never thought there would come a time when my bike would be consigned to the shed for such a period of time as it has been recently but there it sits, clean lines, new tyres, new bidons, brakes adjusted to just the right tension, ready to hit the road. Unfortunately it's owner has become rather recalcitrant when it comes to cycling.

 Bike racing has changed so much over the last twenty years that I could never go back to it. The charmless automons who churn the local roads have no spark or character and they discuss the sport in a way which may as well be in Greek for all I care. I've become a dinosaur longing for the old days and feeling they were better. 

 That being said the occasional spark strikes me and I wish I could find the time and enthusiasm for one more decent season, one last crack at the country circuit where I spent the racing days of my youth, one last grimace of satisfaction at winning a few bucks at the regional handicap at Cootamundra. Then the spark goes out and I wonder why I would ever want to race again. The chance of crashing and the menace of crazed car drivers is worse now than it ever was and falling off when I was 24 wasn't a pleasant experience; falling off at 44 can only be twice as painful!

 Of course I don't have to race again. There is immeasurable pleasure in getting fit and being able to ride a racing bike at a pace the local commuters can only dream of matching but you have to regain that level first and not being in racing trim makes the mountain that much harder to climb. Why not stay in bed instead?

 I will ride my bike again. I will spend that methodical half hour preparing and go for my ride, dodging dastardly mothers with their prams, ignorant dog walkers with their pets on leads, little families on their day rides and, when the notion to ride on the road takes me, deal with the psychopaths in motor cars who seem to think bikes are nothing more to them than a Messerschmidt in a Spitfire's gun sights.  

 I hear my bike calling my name. Shall I answer or ignore her for a little longer?

 Have a nice night.

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