Monday 1 June 2009


Watching my often glamorous wife get ready for a night out with some awe and confusion (I was ready some time in advance.....), I was struck by the similarities between the ritual that people, not just women (!), go through before heading off to their favourite pub/restaurant/club etc for a formal night out, and the preparation for heading out on the bike:

Body preparation - Am I relatively recently washed to avoid suffering of training partner when sitting on one's wheel? Legs shaved? Chamois cream? Sunscreen or embrocation depending on time of year? Check.

Clothing - what's the ambient temperature outside? What highs and lows of temperature are expected? What co-ordinates with what? Knee warmers or legwarmers? Winter jersey or jacket? Rainwear or risk it? Check. (Actually, in my home town this step seems to be omitted by those going out by using the maxim "wear as little as possible at all times")

Peripherals/accessories - puncture repair stuff? Gels/bars? Spare clothing? Phone and money? Check.

Bike - tire pressure? Chain lubed? Annoying creak solved? Check.

Route - Balancing desired time out with time in lumber for being late back? The equivalent of the late return with consequent hangover.

Then assemble components in order - get dressed, try to cram everything into small pockets - don't want to take anything unnecessary that will clutter one's style...... retrieve bike from cellar/shed/hiding place.

Last Obsessive Compulsive Disorder check - oh crap, forgot money/house/keys/helmet etc.

Enjoy ride.

For racing cross - multiply complexity by a factor of 10. OCD truly in danger of becoming established.

Oh, and talking of sartorial elegance, the little female mini-me that shares my unfortunate genetic make up for long lanky limbs and slopy shoulders has shown some exquisite taste recently. When asked to get a sun hat for some (locally unseasonal) sun-blessed gardening this weekend, she appeared rocking my red Rapha biretta with far more style than I have ever pulled off. Chapeau.

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