It’s easy when you’ve been riding a long time to fall into a routine where the activity itself has become accompanied by a set of accoutrements and a series of rituals that belie the actual challenge ahead. Camelbak stuffed with shock pump, mini tool, snack bar, phone, spare top, buff, first aid kit, jelly beans, banana – anyone? Fettle with forks, fiddle with bolt-thru, tyre pressures, OK – check!
Sometimes you just need a little reminder, a moment where the essence of ‘why’ smacks you squarely in the face. Yesterday was one of those days. As we wound up the gentle forest incline a cursory glance confirmed my sense of an approaching rider and we spun wide to let him past. And there he was, pounding along on his old, rigid touring bike, wind in his hair, tracky bottoms and T-shirt flapping, gloveless, grinning. He whistled on by, effortlessly; his arms and legs providing suspension, with trainers doubling up as emergency brakes. We saw him twice more as we meandered through the forest – the descending had a tendency to rattle those pannier straps loose, forcing him to stop momentarily for a quick fix. Then off he went again, unencumbered, happy and free, it really was all about the ride.
If the cumulative effects of routine and habit are weighing you down [literally] and you feel like life, with it tendrils of responsibility and expectation is depleting your energy, then maybe, just maybe it’s time to simplify.
Let me know how you go.