Once Upon a Time, I didn’t ride a bike. Now it’s difficult to remember exactly when I learnt, I’m not really sure and unfortunately I can’t find out as my Grandmother taught me, and I don’t think my parents would remember. It happened somewhere between 6 and 8.
Somewhere in my mid teens I stopped, I’m not sure exactly why but I’d attribute it to a multitude of things. Football injuries which left ‘experts’ saying I’d never do any physical exercise again, I grew tall and somewhere around 15 I’d stopped.
Like many in the interim period between the Second Coming of the Velo in my life I found music, girls and the love of many other things which still stay with me today. It was a chapter in my life with very few characters which remain with me from that time except a few exceptional people who are my oldest friends in the world.
London was the rebirth of the bike in my life. I had everything to learn again, a new book of knowledge with chapters I am still writing. In the time since I rediscovered my love for the bike the only times that I have been without it have been due to times of injury, rather than falling out of love with it, which is surely what happened when I was a teenager, the time before I became a man.
Twenty years have passed since I threw my legs back over a bike again , and I can’t imagine a time now where I won’t be obsessed with it. I’ve often described it as the ‘disease that doesn’t kill you’, those in though know nod and smile, while those whose journey is still young look confused and wonder what I am talking about. For some the penny drops once they enter the world of the the ‘Soul Rider’. It doesn’t mean the ride is slow, or even always fast, but they release the captive contained within the day to day of the mundane that needs to happen, the stuff that is automatic but without it those simple functions the big wheels just don’t turn.
The Soul Ride allows you to step outside of those little wheels and cogs that need to spin so quickly to engage the big cogs of life. But to know how to use the big cogs you need to step outside and see the clock face to realise that time is relative and to gain it, you need to ride to escape the pressures of it. To ride with no agenda, no mandate, no KOM’s to bag, just simply to ride.
I’m only at the metaphorical mid ride café stop, with a long way to go. I’d better have another cuppa, and another slice of cake. There’s a lot of riding still to come.