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When I was thirteen cycling began changing my life and consuming it. My world-view flipped.

Western Crete, 2004.

Western Crete, 2004. Scene of The Return. (Primal roar not captured on film).

When I was thirteen cycling began changing my life and consuming it. My world-view flipped.

The Summer of ’86 I started exploring far off exotic places like Tamworth and Buxton on a bike far too big for me, and realised that I was pretty well suited to it. Then Roche won the Triple in ’87 and I dived into road racing and time trials, obsessed. Cycling was a strange, secular minority sport then, and I became part of an exclusive clique with a strange language, rituals and bizarrely, veiny, hairless legs (bearing in mind I was 14). Everything was about cycling, and I daydreamed about winning the Tour, rather than revising exothermic reactions, adverbs, etc.

This snowballed for many years until my spine tapped me on the shoulder and begged to be excused. So the whinging vertabrae and I took up all the fruity things in life that cycling had denied me, like girls, booze and cake. I’d been told I could kiss cycling goodbye, and rather than dwell on it, I gave up. Occasionally I had quiet daydreams about cycling instead of walking, on forested walks and holidays to Europe with perfectly tarmaced mountain roads.

Then in 2000 I had one of those movie-like (soaring violins in background) epiphanies. I REALLY MISS CYCLING. It was like being home sick.

So I did yoga, pilates, weights, etc, etc and dragged my spine back into some sort of semblance of order.

I rode a bike again in 2004. I went to Crete, hired a MTB and trundled into the mountains. At the top of a gorge, chubby and gasping for breath I let out one of those primal roars (no doubt both unintentionally funny and fantastically uplifting to behold) and had a bit of a man cry.

I was cycling again, and the addiction took hold fast. But I had an altogether less snobby, inclusive attitude. I was just glad to be turning the pedals, and glad for anyone else to do the same. I rode for the love of it, not just a ways to a racing means. Cycling even gave me annoying habits my wife could recount with hilarity, to break the ice at dinner parties. Awesome.

I am convinced of one thing. Cycling is joyous and beautiful. The freedom, the difficulty (if that’s what you fancy), the pottering (picnic advised), the sounds and especially the sights. I hope you enjoy me banging on about cycling in the blog. I’ll invite in some guests too, and hopefully introduce some lovely photos, music and films. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

…As Long As We Cycle

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