To those who know me, you’ll know that for quite some time there was a definite lull in my getting on a bike. Almost like trying to get a clapped out Vespa going, over the past few years it was a bit cough, splutter, cough, wheeze… stall.
For some reason though, while up in Queensland last Christmas, I decided out of the blue to get up early and go for a ride on Christmas morning; it probably had something to do with the impending Christmas onslaught and bizzare lack of daylight saving, meaning at 5am it was light and already 20 odd degrees. That first ride, which had me discovering off-road track right next to the famous Gold Coast beach line was like a total engine rebuild and I ended up getting out pretty much every day afterward up on the Sunshine coast, rain or not.
Since then, other than a few weeks around the time I went over to the Taipei Cycle Show, I have been turning the wheels and been good about going to the gym on a regular basis. Now that it’s become cold, that motivation has definitely waned and I have not been out on the bike for a few weeks. This is not to say the legs are not turning, they are, just indoors on the bike at the gym. I am damned sure riding one of those things for 45-50 minutes is harder than riding an actual bike, because there is no ‘coast time’, it’s just pedal, pedal, pedal….. maybe that’s the attraction to single speeding? None the less, if it has not been the bike or the gym, then out the door and walking, so that 4-5 days a week, something has been happening.
But why the sudden burst that’s now in its sixth month? Well, I am beginning to think that age has something to do with it and after moving past a ‘certain age’, you suddenly realise that waiting another few months to get back on the wagon only makes it that much harder physically and worse, mentally. I have seen it before in people that I know, when that age came along it was as if a rocket was lit under their arse. For some it lasted, for others it fizzled. None the less it happened and I am wondering if that’s happening to me? A plus too I have found in all of this is that after all those years you know what your body is doing and when something goes wrong, rather than trying to fight it and make it worse, you have a more sane view and realise the faster road is to back off and let get better rather than fight it.
What’s more, that damned donut you ate takes three times the effort to loose… and who wants to give up donuts?
Next month I take delivery of the first production sample Mountain Cycle. Not a full susser but a carbon hardtail which I’ll be running with a rigid carbon fork and 2×10 as an urban menace. I have a feeling that this will be a turning point in my riding because I have not had an officially light bike for years – maybe 5? Pushing a big 6″ bike around with 1×9 gearing might get you fit but it’s as engaging on the road as watching paint dry and while I have a little section of singletrack worked out in the local park, after a few weeks it gets a little old. The idea of getting back on a bike that’s fast I am finding intoxicating and in a childish sort of way, July for me is almost like Christmas when you’re a child; I’m thinking that I might actually get back to riding some of the old road loops I used to years back.
Bike aside, I am thinking I am on the wagon once again. After six months, it’s got to the point that if I don’t do something each day, I’ll go a little potty and it gets worse… if I have not spun the legs for a few days, I start loosing the plot and that’s the sure sign of being back on board. Most importantly though is that the bike is fun again, not a pain, and riding up the hills around here does not leave me thinking I’m about to expire but rather wondering where that strength has come from. It’s even got me thinking about events later in the year, and that is something I have not done for a very long time.
So is there a morale to this blurb? Maybe. If there is it’s that maybe getting older has its advantages… maybe.
A little while back, my good lady wife’s bike was in need of a spring clean so I took the opportunity to finally cover something I’ve been meaning to do for ages – cables. But this is not so much a ‘how to setup and tune your brakes and gears’ and more like ‘how to keep…Go on then, tell me more...!
It’s every rider’s little dirty secret. I’m sure it’s the same theory for all activities, but for cycling deep in the back of every cyclist’s mind they secretly like to think themselves as being ‘hardmen’. Some just think it, others are quite overt about it but either way it lingers there, simmering under the surface.…Go on then, tell me more...!
I’m allergic to production bikes. Ok, that’s not strictly true, but I will generally avoid most production machines – usually based an irrational dislike of the brand, a less irrational dislike of the available colourschemes, ill-suited geometry or a combination of the above. Recently, on the hunt for a new project, I had a (rather…Go on then, tell me more...!
I bet that title caught your attention!? Let me expand on that. Bicycle ‘design’ is boring and I mean both in terms of visual appeal and in terms of design and designing. It’s funny when you think about it but somehow, in the world of bicycles, we seem to have ended up with a never…Go on then, tell me more...!
At the London round of the Rollapaluza National Series during the week a conversation got my cogs whirring… Nick Hussey, Damien Breen (of that most excellent In The Saddle blog) and myself were talking – it was like a mini bloggers convention (although not ‘mini’ in that any of us are particularly short I might…Go on then, tell me more...!