The perfect ride


The Downs, from the crest of the bank.

Ah. How many times do I have to ride in the cold, wet and grey before I get a day like this? Yesterday was a cheat-the-week classic: 3 hours, 45 miles or so, plenty of hills, bits of tempo. I was test-riding the new Easton EA90 SLXs (of which more later), it was warm enough for a single layer, traffic was sparse, my legs felt strong.

My girlfriend asked me, as I was pulling on my lycra after lunch:

Shouldn’t you be working?

My answer was yes, I probably should. However I have a real problem not riding when I’m inside and the sun starts shining. This may be the one factor that prevents me becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg: when he was coding, I was out riding.

Riding comes first. I realised this 45 minutes into the ride, as I broke my first sweat of the day, and heard my phone ringing from my jersey pocket. It was a call from a client. I knew who it was – I had even asked them to call that afternoon, before I decided to go riding. I listened to the call ring off, imagining the testy voicemail, the urgent deadline reminder. At the sound of the message alert I kicked up a gear, filled my chest with air, and rode on into the afternoon sunshine.

Cycling is higher up in my pyramid of needs than work. Naturally, I need some work to have money to buy a bike in the first place – but if you offered me 50% extra salary with no more riding, or even with only 1 ride permitted per fortnight, I’d turn you down flat. I need to ride. Riding bikes has been something fixed in me since I was a young boy. Cycling has been a hobby, then a pursuit, then an obsession. Sometimes it’s a yoke I feel compelled to put my shoulders into (training – it has to happen, lots of it).

Sometimes I wonder if I could ever sit inside on a sunny day with a bike waiting to be ridden, and just not ride. Currently it’s not possible.

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