This week I became officially “middle aged”. This sad fact this was based on the genetics of the males of my family, not the general population. We tend to die young and beautiful, well ok, moderately aged and wrinkly. It’s also brought about a realisation that I’m probably not going to be about as long as I’ve been here so I better do something about that.
It’s easy to think that I’ve sat in a pool of my own tears thinking that I’ve so little time left, but it’s actually been the opposite. It’s dawned on me that, and let’s be honest, the first fifteen years of our lives we’re really up to much. Sure, I spent a lot of time in a pool trying and failing to be the next Michael Phelps, but really, most of the things I did during that period haven’t really amounted to anything. Except learning to ride a bike. And maybe going to school. Ok that was pretty useful I’ll admit. I can’t imagine a huge percentage of us are any different, those who were are either actual Olympians or very lucky.
I was a swimmer and I was late to the whole culture of riding bikes. Sure, we rode them to go training, but we didn’t really ride. We were people on bikes as opposed to cyclists. But unlike swimming, cycling has been something that I kept on doing more and more of with little knowledge why I was doing so. I don’t know why, but every time I see someone on a bike on the way to the gym or pool I wonder “how much better off would you be if you just kept going?”.
This descent into middleagedom, combined with a healthy dose of reality for all at grit.cx in the past few weeks, has made me think about what riding bikes in the dirt really mean to me. Having passed through the learner phase, through the racer and fast racer phase, I find myself at a point where I have to choose again. Do I dedicate many more of my waning years to riding these expensive contraptions around fields for an hour plus a lap – or getting out there and exploring what is beyond the barriers?
I’ve found it quite difficult to decide. If anything, the only thing I can decide on is that I want to ride my bike more. More than ever, really. Sitting here, writing these words amidst the terrifyingly-named storm Abigale, I can only think how much more alive I’d feel out in the rain and hail rather than at a desk with exceptionally poor coffee.
Roll on the last email of the day. The first drop of rain on my face. The cool bottle of beer in the shed after the ride home.
Beer of The Week:
Saltaire Brewery: Hazelnut Coffee Porter 4.6% ABV
“A smooth, dark red porter with German malts and hops. Additions of fresh ground coffee and roast hazelnut syrup give this speciality beer, depth and complexity.”
A surprise birthday party at the weekend and a treat delivered to my hand in the form of a warm winter porter. The season for dark beers is coming fast and I can’t welcome it enough. Sadly a seasonal beer from the folks at Saltaire, but a beauty if you can find it.