I bought a bike.
This is an unusual sentence for me to say for two reason. It’s also quite surprising and it’s pretty hard to get two reasons from a 4 word sentence. It’s unusual because a) I bought something. For those who know me you’ll know this is a rare occurance. Unless death in imminent or at least 3 years has been spent contemplating the purchase this is a rarity. b) A BIKE!!!! I can barely ride a bike, and I hate exercise, and wheels and roads.
So I bought an ancient racer bike for £80. It’s by far the worst bike in the world. To be honest I’d been watching far too much of the tour de france and in a moment of madness thought, fuck it, I can be just like them, speeding through France like a bullet, eating up the miles…
To list the faults: wonky crankshaft, bad brake on the back, non-working front brake, seat made of iron and abuse, rusty wheels, flat tyres and steel handlebars, not covered, or padded, just steel.
This, in most normal circumstances would be enough to end any ambition, but to my surprise I have now mended the bike, apart from a newly flat tyre, a puncture in the same place as the last puncture, notably where i tried to repair it.
I’ve started what I like to call, the tour de sefton park, a route of 2.34 miles around the large park near my house. Now I aim to do three laps in thirty minutes. 10 minute a lap.
Now this nearly kills me. I am bright red, sweaty, have come dangerously close to the front of cars/vans/lorries, and my legs swell to the size of a weightlifters. But i was quite pleased with the exercise and was feeling like a cycling champion.
So I had a look at where I’d rank alongside the Tour de France….
Ah… Not so good.
Now I do 3 laps in 30 min at 14mph = 10 min laps.
I’m aiming for 4 laps in 30 min at 18mph = 8 min laps.
The tour, based on the average speed, manages an average of 25mph…
That’d be 5 laps in 30 min.
Do you ever have those moment when you realise you’ll never be a professional sportsman. The first time you headed a football and were knocked semi-unconscious. When a 13 year old boy bowled you out while you played cricket for the 3rd team. That moment in badminton when you’re beaten, by a) someone twice your age, b) someone half your age or c) someone who’s never played before.
I think I just had one.