Just like all of us, Hannah is looking to survive the social distancing and lockdown. The Diversion Diary is a tale of love under lockdown, and bikes. Only, there’s an added twist: Hannah’s partner BK*, lives in the USA, and they’re locked down on different continents.
This week I’ve noticed a proliferation of the modern equivalent of chain letters. Facebook posts where you post a picture of an album, or your bike, or your high school years, and tag someone else to join in. Questions to answer, inspirational people to name. Post, tag, pass it on. Yes, I’m sure boredom has a lot to do with this, but I think it’s also a product of people searching for a feeling of connection. As we sit in our homes, isolated, we’re trying to find ways to stay connected. Which is ironic, because it’s our highly connected world that has, in part, brought us to our isolation. The virus has spread rapidly worldwide due to our mobility between all our connections.
Now the mobility is gone, we’re all trying to keep the connections alive, to feel the web of contact, to reach out and touch as many people as we can.
For BK and I, there’s been something of an unexpected side effect to love under lockdown: instead of it always being just the two of us, we’re now able to hang out in the virtual world with each other’s friends. This is great. This is like what normal couples who live in the same country do. Instead of each of us occasionally meeting the other’s friends in a whirlwind tour of new names while feeling slightly like some kind of exotic zoo creature, we can hang out like normal people over a beer, or a movie, or a vintage bike auction. OK, perhaps some of our activities are quite niche, but that’s why these people are our friends. While our connections remain distant and virtual, they’re growing, and cementing – and that is a very nice feeling.
This week’s theme then is ‘everything is connected’. Kinda. Sorta. Tenuously. Join me in the vortex and let yourself get sucked in.
Earlier this week I ran a story about this video from S&M Bikes, because I loved the vibe. S&M also made videos with Matt Beringer:
Matt also features in this video, which BK says was one of the first BMX videos to be made in the rough, dirty ‘street’ style. It’s a pretty rough and dirty link too – but the only one I could find.
These days, Matt makes rather lovely things out of titanium, and they usually sell out as fast as he can post them on his website. BK has a set of the bar ends. Try as I might, I can’t think of why anyone would need a golf ball marker, or a titanium ring, but those sell out fast too.
BK is a bike nerd, and rides all bikes, as long as they don’t have clippy pedals. But he has yet to go bike packing, and he’s barely done any gravel riding, in the modern sense of the word. I’m not sure that this video will do much to help persuade him that he should give it a go, or that the UK would be a good place to relocate to. So far, all he has seen of the UK is mid-November to mid-December. I don’t think he believes me when I tell him that’s the worst possible time of year and that any other 4-week period in the year would be better.
Brady Tweedy/Revel Bikes
This kind of riding is much more like BK’s idea of fun. This seems like an appropriate point to mention that in week one’s diary I happened to mention he’d had 81 broken bones (he’d like to clarify that’s 81 breaks to bones, not all different bones). His mum emailed me to say she’d been unaware of 11 of them. Oops.
This video is a total wormhole of connections – the locations are ones where BK rides, his friend Chris Reichel works for Revel, by chance on our first date we ran into Chris just before Revel launched, at Blue Dog Bicycles, and discovered that Chris and the Blue Dog gang are already friends with Charlie the Singletrack Merchmonger.
And now, I may use Charlie as an excuse to lower the tone. I’m sure that has been done before. While in many respects my relationship with BK is that of a proper long-term all-in until-we-get-old one, there are some aspects of it that reveal it as a new one. One of those is farting. When you’re not together very often, it is quite easy to not fart in front of your partner (though my kids have gleefully pointed out that BK is in for a shock). Perhaps the next visit will see us both move from discreet releases to casual ripping. I imagine there’s a whole bunch of people up and down the country who, newly confined with their partners, are crossing this bridge. Thanks to the Forum for some entertaining stories on this front.
And with that instalment of silliness, it is time to get on with the day. Go foster your connections, go chat to your friends, go easy on the beans.
*For the record, and context, and to make this easier to write so it sounds a little more like a cosy and relaxing space than a law firm, my partner is called Kevin. You might know him as Fahzure. Amanda calls him BK – short for Big Kev. If you want to know how come he’s there, and I’m here, and we’re a thing, then you should read the Last Word in Issue 120, where it all started.
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