Full Of Sap, Short Of Maps

I prepared badly for my first big cycle ride of the year – but as I get older, I’ve learned to grit my teeth and improvise

A map with possible cycle routes to East Anglia
Original map image: NordNordWest/Lukasb1992/Ottobdn via Wikimedia Commons

AS THE SONG so eloquently puts it, it’s been a long cold lonely winter, little darling.

But, lately, the Springtime has got to work on this old-enough-to-know-better body.

Outside, The Sap was beginning to rise and it was pleasant, at my age, to realise that I was still capable of stirring in response.

It was March already, and the wind and the rain had stopped for a bit: time to dust off my bike gear and get out there.

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I Want To Ride My Bicycle; I Want To Ride It Where I Like

The Government is eyeing up my beloved cycling as the cure to London’s traffic gridlock – let’s hope they don’t suck all the joy out of riding a bike.  

Hundreds of city cyclists
Will we still able to have fun on a bike when everybody is on two wheels?

ALL OF A SUDDEN, it seems we can’t get enough of cycling…

Yesterday, for example, The Government announced a £5 billion fund to improve UK bus and bike infrastructure over the next five years.

The day before, our local council released a plan to improve the hairy A-road passing through our bit of London – including high quality segregated cycle lanes and prioritised signals for bikes.

The Guardian also wrote about London grinding to a halt despite a big drop in car journeys since the Congestion Charge – and wondered whether bikes could be the answer.

As someone who’s been cycling for years, it’s nice to be on the right side of change, for a change.

But, at the same time, I’m a bit worried that the powers-that-be might bugger cycling up – or at least spoil it for those of us who’ve been doing it for years.

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I’m An Old Dog, But I’ve Got Some New Tricks

If I can learn to fix two busted tyres in one morning, I’m not too old to fix my life

A bike wheel and inner tube

I’VE BEEN FEELING LOW over the last week or two.
In my sessions with the psychologist, I’ve spent a lot of time crying, going on (Boo hoo!) about how washed up and useless I am and how I don’t contribute anything.
Although – if I can manage to look at my situation objectively – things are actually slightly better than they were this time last year, I still spend a lot of my time beating myself up.
Despite making better decisions these days, and making some progress towards the things I want to do, I find that I’m still derailed very easily by any setback, no matter how small.
Yesterday, I had technical problems with launching this blog and, after a brief period of angry struggle, gave up trying to fix them.
I knocked off work early and stewed, decided that I needed a couple of beers to cheer myself up and – inevitably, since this is me we’re talking about – woke up this morning feeling there was no point in doing anything whatsoever. 

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The Long Road To Forgiving My Father

I took a long, hard bike ride at the weekend, hoping to learn something about my dead father. In the end, I found out something unexpected about me and my own children.

A path through countryside

MY DAD committed suicide almost a quarter of a century ago, and yet I am still in a relationship with him. 

He still makes me angry, because – before he asphyxiated himself with his car exhaust – he left my brother a loving note and chose not to write to me.

He still makes me insecure, because he obviously didn’t like me much.

And this rage and self-doubt he left me with combine – still – to put me in preposterous competition with a man who has been in the ground almost 25 years. 

I want to beat him by living longer (tick); by being a better Dad (tick?) and by beating my own depression (tick, sort of). 

And at the weekend, I was going to be better than him on the bike. 

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