I’m standing in the shower, wearing all my cycling clothes, watching the grit from the 2 hour dirtfest wash down the drain. I stand there shivering as the hot water runs through each successive layer rinsing away the cold, taking away that grim feeling I’ve had.
Earlier as I rode between cars and pedestrians, I realised that we, the cyclist, exist in a layer between worlds. One layer inside their steel and plastic portable death boulders trying their best to ignore the 800lumen pulsating out of my head light like a dazed cow. The other staring blindly into their glass and aluminium fondleslabs – wandering about like so many lost sheep without thinking about their actions.
Are we the only ones awake at the end of the day? Having to stay fully alert through the traffic and chaos of the city before we can exit into the quiet mountains, lanes and fields to practice our art lest we get crushed or crush some sheep who steps in front of us. The only other people who appear to be alert are the motorcyclists, our brethren who go even less noticed than we do despite louder engines and brighter lights.
As I stand I can’t help but feel this layer we exist in is special. It’s a place where we willingly sacrifice our time, money and relationships to do the one thing we enjoy – riding bikes, quite often in atrocious conditions.
The sheep layer are fickle – they exist only to get from one place to another as fast as possible while poking, probing and liking their fondleslabs without regard for their safety. They don’t put themselves out in the miserable weather we endure by choice, it is thrust upon them like the continual inundation of most important Tweets that they have to attend to right now. Sorry, apparently important.
The cow layer are dumb – they sit there complaining about the traffic, the traffic that they are, wondering if they could just squeeze by if I use that nice safe area over there on my inside. “There’s nothing there…ohh where has my wing mirror gone? What’s that flashing light?”
The cyclist, well I think we are probably worse than both are. Our blatant disregard for the travel conditions: “Snow, I’ll change my tyres.” Our ability to believe that we can get away with anything: “It’s only a few meters on the path.” Our senseless disregard for the rides we do: “Why yes, I am going to go out training today, the mud will be perfect after all that rain.”
It’s odd, this layer we exist in, as it is noticeable that it effects our actions in the other two layers. My wife has noted that I walk through town like a track rider, looking over my shoulder before making any move – years of track racing and motorcycling bred that into me.
Maybe we should get more cows and sheep on bikes, maybe that’ll help us all.
Beer of the Week
Vanilla Porter – Little Valley Brewery 4.5% ABV
Vanilla Porter is a rich and lightly roasted dark coloured ale with subtle hints of vanilla and liquorice. We use real vanilla pods and ground vanilla in this one. Great with hearty stews, steaks and rich chocolate puddings!
Staying local this week with a lovely example of a autumnal and winter porter. There is something so right about this despite the idea of mixing any sort of flavour with a porter going against my national ideas – Guinness and blackcurrant is just plain wrong.